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What is Quality of Care and Safety at Mass General Brigham?

We believe in measuring things that matter, not just things that are required. We actively assess, evaluate, and report on the quality of care provided, with the voice of the patient as a vital gauge.

Doctors looking at screens for heart monitoring at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

About quality of care and safety at Mass General Brigham

As an integrated health system that offers high quality of care at every stage of the health journey, we actively assess, evaluate, and report on the quality of care provided at our institutions. We leverage robust systems to both inform our providers about best practices and to ensure that the quality of care our patients receive meets the highest quality and safety standards. 

When it comes to evaluating the quality of care we deliver, the voice of the patient is a vital gauge that helps us to

  • Continue to enhance our performance
  • Ensure an excellent experience that prioritizes patient needs and goals
  • Define best practices for care
  • Raise the standard across all Mass General Brigham institutions

The importance of measuring quality of care and safety

To make informed decisions, it is important for patients to have the ability to compare quality of care data across health care institutions, within our system and elsewhere. 

Brings best practices to scale

As the largest health care network in New England, our influence extends beyond our hospitals and care institutions. By collecting quality and safety data system-wide, we have access to the information we need to bring innovation to more Mass General Brigham patients. In turn, the knowledge we generate helps other institutions adopt new treatments and better practices across the spectrum of care.

Improves outcomes 

Through measurement practices, we have proven to:

  • Shorten hospital stays 
  • Lower the rate of readmissions
  • Deliver treatment with fewer complications

All of these factors make for a faster road to recovery and lower costs without sacrificing quality.

The data we collect across the system also helps us improve safety protocols, leverage technology to reduce risk, and provide the right training to the right staff. By making this data publicly available, we can empower patients to become experts in their own health and make informed decisions in partnership with our providers. 

Enables care for the whole patient

Mass General Brigham delivers comprehensive breadth and depth of care. This includes services ranging from primary care to behavioral health, complex specialty care and subspecialty care, as well as rehabilitation services, home-based services and other services. This enables a whole-patient perspective to the way we deliver and manage care, which helps reduce complications, avoid hospitalizations, and keep patients healthier longer.

In addition to measuring outcomes, we regularly survey our patients to learn more about their specific experiences at our member institutions and affiliate hospitals, including the effectiveness of our communication, the interaction with their doctors, and the timeliness of their care. We have found one measure to be particularly illuminating: how willing are patients to recommend their hospital to family and friends.

Generates knowledge

Research and education are two of the main pillars that define our mission and values. The knowledge produced by our care institutions benefits patients across the industry in the form of new treatments, improved practices, and effective quality and safety protocols. Mass General Brigham serves as the foundation for an infrastructure that brings innovation right to the patient, where it can make the most difference.

Our methodology to collecting quality of care and safety data

Use of the same electronic health record (EHR), a customized data-sharing tool, throughout our system helps to coordinate care and make it easier for physicians to jointly determine the most effective treatment plan for their patients. The Mass General Brigham EHR platform allows for refined communication, less opportunity of error, increased transparency, reduction of cost, and improved patient experience.

It has also changed the way we collect, measure, and assess quality of care and safety practices across the spectrum of care at our member institutions. Traditional sources of patient data, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), are based on billing records and provide an incomplete picture of the patient experience, lacking information. We go beyond this, measuring useful data that our providers document every day from patients across our network—things like screenings, blood pressures, and lab results—to measure patient care holistically and assess if the right care was delivered at the right time. Unlike measures created by external parties, our confidential patient data resides within Mass General Brigham only and allows us to evaluate the quality of the care we deliver in a more timely and accurate way. 

In addition to measuring outcomes, we regularly survey our patients to learn more about their specific experiences at Mass General Brigham institutions—including how well we communicated with them as their caregivers, how well doctors coordinated their care, and how timely their care was and how willing are patients to recommend their hospital to family and friends.

Mass General Brigham also believes strongly in measuring things that matter, not just things that are required. Examples of our efforts dedicated to measuring things that matter to our patients include robust programs in:

  • Patient-reported outcomes (PROMs)
  • Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS)
  • Physician variation
  • Shared decision making
  • Electronic clinical quality measures (ECQMs)