Recognizing Washington care improvements during Healthcare Quality Week

October 22, 2020

During Healthcare Quality Week 2020, Oct. 18-24, the WSHA Safety & Quality team is highlighting key areas of safety and quality work and invite you to partner with us to advance health care in our state.

COVID-19 has profoundly impacted the entire health care system. WSHA’s Safety & Quality team responded to the pandemic by creating tools and resources on masking, PPE, infection control, isolation and visitation, and offered individual coaching and remote learning opportunities to assist hospital leaders in their response. Throughout this, we have also continued its ongoing safety and quality efforts.

Advocating for maternal health equity
In Washington state, a Hispanic person is twice as likely to die of pregnancy related complications than a white person. This discrepancy rises to 6.5 times as likely for someone who is a Native American or an Alaskan Native. Research shows that care outcome inequity is largely due to differences in how birthing people are treated within the health care setting based on race, socioeconomic status, insurance coverage type and language barriers.

Through the Safe Deliveries Roadmap initiative, WSHA is leading several projects to improve maternal health equity. WSHA is sponsoring implicit and explicit bias training from the Institute for Perinatal Quality Improvement to be offered as a benefit of membership to all Washington hospital obstetrical unit clinicians and providers. WSHA is also utilizing the Institute for Healthcare Improvement collaborative model to engage a cohort of hospital teams in improving identification and treatment of birthing people with opioid use disorder and infants exposed to substances in utero. Participating hospitals also have access to birth equity reports highlighting key outcome measures through the WSHA Maternal Data Center. Learn more about the Safe Deliveries Roadmap and Implicit & Explicit Bias Virtual Training.

Addressing the opioid crisis with Opioid Prescribing Reports
The opioid epidemic has continued to increase in recent years, with devastating impacts. WSHA, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), is empowering Washington state providers to be better stewards of opioid prescriptions.

The Opioid Prescribing Reports were created to offer information and data directly to hospital chief medical officers and designated quality leaders to use for quality improvement purposes. The reports offer a system-level snapshot of opioid prescribing behaviors by specialty group, including peer benchmarks, using Washington State Prescription Monitoring Program data.

This programming has assisted Washington hospitals in reducing rates of acute opioid prescribing and adopting new pain management practices, including the use of alternatives to opioids. To date, WSHA and WSMA have recruited over 90 hospitals, health systems and medical clinics to participate, comprising roughly 22,000 prescribers across the state. For more information about the Opioid Prescribing Reports, visit the WSHA website.

Starting a conversation on diagnostic errors
A diagnostic error is when the diagnosis of a patient’s health problem is delayed, wrong or missed altogether. The US National Academy of Medicine estimates that diagnostic errors impact more than 12 million Americans every year. Accurate and timely diagnosis depends nearly as much on the health care system as it does on the providers.

WSHA is actively working with several health systems and the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems to begin this work. It includes an awareness campaign to ensure all Washington and Oregon hospitals are aware of the problems of diagnostic error, enactment of diagnostic error standards for safety event reporting systems and more. Contact WSHA Safety and Quality Senior Director Trish Anderson at to become involved.


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