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What Does Quality Mean?

The Institute of Medicine defines health care quality as the degree to which health care services, individuals and population increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge. Quality care is seen as the following:
  • Safe – avoiding injuries to patients from care that is intended to help them
  • Effective – avoiding overuse and misuse of care
  • Patient-centered – providing care that is unique to a patient’s needs
  • Timely – reducing wait times and harmful delays for patients and providers
  • Efficient – avoiding waste of equipment, supplies, ideas and energy
  • Equitable – providing care that does not vary across populations
St. Dominic’s strives to meet and exceed these areas of quality through its customer service practice of providing each patient and guest with an Exceptional Experience Everytime.

How Do We Improve?

St. Dominic’s is constantly pursuing excellence and looking for ways to improve at all levels of the organization. Some examples of improvement efforts that are critical to the care you receive at St. Dominic’s include the following:
  • Consistent process developed for treating patients who arrive in the Emergency Room with heart attacks. The faster a patient is treated is related to saving more heart muscle.
  • Consistent process developed for treating patients who arrive in the Emergency Department with stroke onset signs and symptoms.
  • Sepsis mortality workgroup has resulted in a 5 percent reduction in mortality, which resulted in 60 lives saved over a two-year period.

Quality and Patient Safety Improvement Recognitions

Leapfrog Patient Safety

The Leapfrog Group is a voluntary program that recognizes and rewards American health care organizations for superior safety, quality and consumer value through their Leapfrog Survey conducted twice a year. In the spirit of transparency and patient safety, St. Dominic’s made the decision to begin voluntarily reporting its data on the Leapfrog survey in December 2015. From the Fall 2015 survey to the Fall 2016 survey, St. Dominic’s improved its Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score from a “C” to an “A”. As a result, St. Dominic’s is in the top third of Leapfrog Hospital Safety Scores. St. Dominic’s will continue to strive to improve patient outcomes and patient experience.

Joint Commission Certifications and Accreditation

An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. St. Dominic’s currently holds certifications for both wound and stroke care.

The Joint Commission Certification for Wound Care

The Wound Healing Center at St. Dominic’s is the first center in the state to hold the coveted Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for demonstrating excellence with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care. St. Dominic’s is also home to the one of the leading hyperbaric oxygen therapy centers in Mississippi. St. Dominic’s multi-disciplinary team of dedicated physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses are committed to providing patients comprehensive care with the most advanced technology and techniques available in the treatment of chronic wounds. St. Dominic’s goal is to help patients return to their normal lives as quickly as possible. As compared to a database of 758 other wound care facilities, St. Dominic’s patients heal significantly faster. (Source: Wound Expert database)
  • “beautiful staff and people...they made me feel comfortable”
  • “anything I needed, they took care of me”
  • “satisfied with the way they handled everything”

The Joint Commission Accreditation for Comprehensive Stroke Center

St. Dominic’s was the first hospital in Mississippi to receive the The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. This level of certification recognizes the significant resources in infrastructure, staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to provide state-of-the-art complex stroke care. Organizations seeking CSC certification must meet all of the general eligibility requirements for Disease-Specific Care and Primary Stroke Center certification. In addition, CSCs are required to:
  • Have dedicated neuro-intensive care unit beds for complex stroke patients that provide neuro-critical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Use advanced imaging capabilities
  • Meet minimum requirements for providing care to patients with a diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage; performing endovascular coiling or surgical clipping procedures for aneurysm; and administering IV tPA
  • Coordinate post-hospital care for patients
  • Use a peer review process to evaluate and monitor the care provided to patients with an ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes
  • Participate in stroke research


Healthgrades is a leading online resource that provides consumers with the information they need to make more informed decisions, including information about the provider’s experience, patient satisfaction and hospital quality. The Healthgrades mission is to help consumers find the right doctor and the right hospital, for the right care. Physicians and healthcare professionals also rely on Healthgrades to accurately represent their practice online, make them more relevant and discoverable and connect them with consumers.

St. Dominic's has been recognized by Healthgrades for having measurably superior quality outcomes in the areas of joint replacement, neuroscience and patient experience. St. Dominic's achieved three quality award distinctions with five star ratings, including America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Joint Replacement Award (including hip fracture and total hip and knee replacement), America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care Award, and Neurosciences Excellence Award. St. Dominic's also received the 2016 Outstanding Patient Experience Award.

What’s Next?

St. Dominic’s continues to focus on safety and quality for our patients. As part of this effort, St. Dominic’s is in the process of implementing a new Electronic Medical Records (EMR) that will enhance the patient experience as well as the quality of care and patient safety. The Cerner system will assist the clinician with providing consistent, repeatable, and processes and tolls. Additionally, St. Dominic’s will continue to identify opportunities to enhance care and services delivered to patients.

What You Can Do to Prevent Errors

Source: The Leapfrog Group

Medication Safety

Medication safety improvement is a top priority for hospitals. You and your family can play a role in helping hospitals improve on medication safety. To prepare for your hospital stay, be sure to:
  • Bring all the medicines you are currently taking so that your health care team can review them, including over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements and herbal remedies.
  • Make sure your care team knows about any allergies to medications.
  • Know what conditions your medicines treat. It is helpful to know both the clinical and common name for your condition(s).
  • Some discomfort can be expected, but it is important to let someone know about an unexpected response to medication, which could help flag a potential problem or error in your care.
  • Make sure your care team checks your hospital wristband before giving you medication.
  • Remember that some of the same drugs have different names, while some drugs have similar names but are different. Having a printed, legible list of your medications that includes generic and brand names is helpful in sorting this out.

Preventing falls

Falls in hospitals are a significant problem and patients of all ages are vulnerable to them. Falls often happen when patients who shouldn’t move by themselves try to get up to use the restroom. If you need to get out of bed, you should:
  • Use your call button to ask for help in getting to the restroom or to walk around the hallway
  • Wear non-slip socks or footwear that fit well
  • Lower the bed height and side rails
  • Talk to your health care team if your medicine makes you feel unsteady or dizzy

Helping hospitalized family members

As a family member or loved one of a hospitalized patient, you are an integral member of the health care team. The more informed you are about their care, the better! Here’s what to do:
  • Be present for rounds, shift changes and any major conferences with the care team and take notes. If you are not invited, ask when these events are likely to happen.
  • When the patient is recovering from surgery, request that you or another trusted family member stay overnight.
  • Arrange with other loved ones to tag team staying with the patient. If you are exhausted, you will not be as helpful as another, well-rested family member. Let the care team know who will be there in your place, especially if the person is staying overnight.

Talking with Your Doctor about Safety

As the patient, you are part of the health care team. It’s important that you prepared, listen carefully, and speak up when you need to. To help make your care experience as safe as possible be prepared. Before your visit, think about and write down any questions you may have. Ask questions when you are unsure of what you are being told, or when some something unexpected happens. Be alert and say something. During your stay, you or a companion should take notes to keep track of what’s happening.

What is a patient advocate and why should I have one?

When you are a patient, it is a good idea to have a designated person who can help you manage your care. A patient or health care advocate watches out for you while you are in the hospital. This allows you to focus on recovering and reduces the stress felt by your family members, allowing them to offer their full support. Talk to your doctor to see if your hospital has a patient advocate.
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