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The Joint Commission (TJC) has found steady improvement in the quality of patient care during a 6-year period ending in 2007. In particular, care has significantly improved for surgical patients and those treated for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, and pneumonia. To reach this conclusion, TJC tracked hospital performance on 25 quality measures reflecting best practices in some 3,000 hospitals.


But despite the encouraging trends, the data also show that improvement is still needed on many quality measures. Take a look at the percentages of hospitals achieving 90% compliance on several well-established best practices:


* discharge instructions for patients with heart failure: 28%


* angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) prescribed at discharge for patients with heart failure: 58%


* ACE inhibitor or ARB prescribed at discharge for patients with AMI: 69%


* pneumococcal screening for patients with pneumonia: 37%.



As part of its accreditation process, TJC reports that most hospitals achieved compliance with its nine 2007 National Patient Safety Goals. For more information, check out Improving America's Hospitals: The Joint Commission's Report on Quality and Safety 2008 at