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LifePoint Hospitals, Duke Health System enter quality agreement
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LifePoint Hospitals, which owns Rockdale Medical Center, and Duke University Health System have expanded their collaborative effort by entering into a national quality agreement to enhance patient safety.

This collaboration will allow the two healthcare organizations to expand upon the work in which they have been engaged for several years to enhance patient safety and improve the quality of care.

Through the new national quality affiliation, all LifePoint hospitals will be part of a program designed to focus their improvement efforts and transform their culture of safety.

"Duke and LifePoint share a commitment to healthcare quality," said William F. Carpenter III, chairman and chief executive officer of LifePoint Hospitals. "We have worked together for several years to develop innovative ways to improve patient care and safety. Our new partnership combines the tools and best practices we've developed over the course of our relationship, along with our unique experiences and expertise, and creates a national quality program that is founded on a culture of safety and teamwork, led by strong and accountable leadership, and driven by measurable performance improvement."

The collaboration between the two organizations began as a result of an existing clinical affiliation Duke had with Danville Regional Medical Center in Danville, Va., when LifePoint acquired the facility in 2005. In 2011, this successful alliance led to the creation of Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture that now operates 12 hospital campuses in four states.

The first opportunity to advance shared quality and safety priorities nationwide came in December 2011 when LifePoint was named one of 26 organizations selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to serve as a Hospital Engagement Network (HEN). The HEN initiative was designed to identify and share best practice solutions to reduce healthcare-acquired conditions. As a subcontractor to LifePoint's HEN, Duke University Health System and the Duke Patient Safety Center played significant roles in culture shaping and clinical performance improvement.

The HEN program was part of the Department of Health and Human Services' HHS Partnership for Patients initiative, a public-private collaboration to make hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly. It had a goal of achieving a 40 percent decrease in healthcare-acquired conditions by the end of 2014. LifePoint exceeded this goal months in advance of the conclusion of the HEN program on December 8, 2014, and achieved performance measures significantly better than national benchmarks.

Noteworthy LifePoint HEN accomplishments include:
- A 42 percent reduction in healthcare-acquired conditions
- More than 9,000 potential incidents avoided
- New tools implemented to build a culture of safety and involve patients in their care

"Duke has had a longstanding commitment to advancing quality and patient safety, and we are pleased to have expanded our quality collaboration with LifePoint," said William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, executive vice president of Duke University Health System. "Through the HEN project and the quality initiatives we have implemented together at our Duke LifePoint hospitals, we built a foundation to take innovation and discovery to the next level as we continue to enhance patient safety and quality care."

The quality foundation created across the LifePoint system during its participation as a HEN includes a shared culture of safety among hospital employees at all levels and mechanisms for constant quality monitoring, measurement, improvement and learning. In addition, LifePoint has appointed a National Physician Advisory Board as well as a Patient and Family Advisory Board to ensure strong physician and patient guidance in quality care.

"LifePoint was founded on a mission of making communities healthier," said Russell Holman, MD, chief medical officer of LifePoint Hospitals. "The HEN initiative allowed LifePoint and Duke to combine our expertise to significantly advance quality and patient safety performance across all LifePoint hospitals wherever they are located. Our new agreement confirms our commitment to expand our work to drive quality improvement and patient safety within our own hospitals and in hospitals serving communities across the country."