Susan L. Smith, MN, PhD


March 31, 2003

Clinical Process Improvement

An alternative to the randomized controlled clinical trial is the examination and comparison of actual processes of care and outcomes of a specific cohort. Clinical process improvement is a systematic method of identifying, benchmarking, and integrating optimal patient care by linking defined measures of patient characteristics, processes, and outcomes. Clinical process improvement becomes a part of a continuous feedback loop of information, measuring variation and seeking to reduce or eliminate variation through comparative data.[10]

The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) is a leader in clinical process improvement. The mission of the UHC is to help strengthen the competitive position of its members in their respective healthcare markets. The UHC oversees a benchmarking program for collecting and using data to develop best practices and reduce the cost, increase efficiency, and improve the quality of patient care.

Organ transplantation-related projects, designed to link patient characteristics, patient management, and outcomes, are ongoing in the areas of kidney and heart transplantation. These projects involve case sampling for defined risk, process, and outcomes measures. Project reports include descriptive statistics, multivariate regression analyses, comparisons of process and outcomes, benchmark performance criteria, and information that reflects members' management of clinical resources.


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