This report presented the aggregate findings from a project that tested emergency department quality measures in a voluntary sample of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in Washington State. The project was completed by the Washington Rural Health Quality Network (RHQN), a network of 37 hospitals, and the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, with assistance from Stratis Health, the Minnesota Quality Improvement Organization (QIO). A total of 17 rural hospitals from the network participated in the project. This report focuses on 2006-2007 data.
Seventeen small rural hospitals successfully completed six months of data collection for quality measures in three emergency department areas: chest pain/AMI, trauma, and transfer communication. A report on these measures was provided to each hospital, which were then surveyed on the assessment’s usefulness. Feedback suggested that the adaptation of the inpatient AMI measure to assess emergency department management of patients presenting with chest pain/AMI was a useful reporting and improvement tool, and the transfer communication measure provided many opportunities for documentation and improvement. However, the trauma measures require refinement. These results suggest that quality measurement at rural hospitals is feasible and useful for reporting and improvement when hospital staff are appropriately trained and provided ongoing technical support.