We're Turning Heads When it Comes to Quality of Care

South Carolina is one of five states that has shown the greatest improvement in healthcare quality nationwide, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report released July 22.

The 2009 State Snapshots report is the latest annual examination of state-by-state quality data by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the research arm of HHS.

What's driving our success? In a word, collaboration. The improvement is a direct result of efforts by South Carolina's healthcare organizations to define and implement best practices, therefore setting new standards in quality and safety.

"We want to be the safest state and have the highest quality of care. That's our vision," said Dr. Rick Foster, senior vice president for quality and patient safety at the South Carolina Hospital Association. "These numbers are an indication of our success."

South Carolina's best scores were in hospital care, heart disease and home health care. Currently our state ranks at or above the national average in 27 of 31 measures related to hospital care. We"re also at or above the national average in nine of 11 specific heart-care measures.

In addition to having all hospitals working together and with other caregivers, South Carolina is the only state in the nation that has all of its major research universities and six teaching hospital systems joining forces to improve healthcare research. That coalition of institutions, Health Sciences South Carolina, is an important partner as we work together to deliver the right care to each patient, every time.

And the results are beginning to show.