National Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Tracking Project: Analysis of CAH Quality Improvement (QI) Strategies

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
August 2003
An important component of the National Rural Hospital Flexibility Program is its emphasis on quality of care. Our previous work identified substantial interest in quality improvement (QI) activities despite the fact that only 16 percent of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) were accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The purpose of this study is to continue our analysis of the QI strategies used in CAHs. To date, most of the evidence on quality improvement has come from urban-based environments. However, there is a strong environmental context to QI issues both in terms of the types of quality issues that need to be addressed and relevant responses to these issues. This study will document the strategies used by CAHs to enhance their QI activities and provide a better understanding of how small scale rural hospitals can create an organizational culture that supports quality improvement. This study will describe the best practices of three CAHs that have developed innovative QI programs.

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