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What are Core Measure Sets and why do Nurses need to Know?

Career News August 6, 2013

It all began in 1999 when the Joint Commission set to work with various medical organizations to develop core measure sets for hospitals. Initially, four of these sets were developed to help hospitals develop a baseline to work with as well as develop a standard level of care for patients facing these issues. Now, the Joint Commission has worked in conglomeration with hospital organizations, health care consumers, health care professionals and health care providers to develop a wide variety of core measure sets. These sets encourage hospitals, doctors and nurses to collect the necessary data to help improve health care across the country. It provides a standard for those in the health care profession to use as they work every day to improve the lives of the patients at the hospital.

What are Core Measure Sets?

In 2003, the Joint Commission made a goal to make every core measure set identical so that all hospitals truly had a baseline to work with. There are now 13 different sets to help doctors and nurses diagnose patients and develop patient care plans. The core measure sets include Substance Use, Tobacco Treatment, Pneumonia Measures, Surgical Care Improvement Project, Venous Thromboembolism, Acute Myocardial Infarction, Immunization, Children’s Asthma Care, Heart Failure, Perinatal Care, Hospital-Based Inpatient Psychiatric Care, Stroke and Hospital Outpatient Department.

Essentially, these core measures are used to help nurses and doctors identify an issue with a patient. The goal is that the data collecting process will be streamlined, and easier, therefore, allowing the health care professionals to focus on caring for the patient instead of recording data. Ultimately, these measures are used to help improve the overall process of being in a hospital or working with health care professionals. This can be a frustrating and scary time for patients, and with these core measures in place, the process becomes less bureaucratic and more streamlined. Everyone benefits in the end from this type of system.

Why Do Nurses Need to Know?

Nurses should make every effort to get to know what the different core measures are during their studies. This ensures that they know the proper protocols and record the proper data when caring for a patient that is affected by one of these issues. Sometimes, these core measures require nurses to take a few extra steps in order to make sure the patient is getting the best care possible. These steps can be time consuming, and at times, can be frustrating for a nurse who is already overloaded with too many patients and too few nurses working on the floor. The important thing for nurses to remember though is that these core measures can and do save patients’ lives every day across the country.

Core nursing is a movement that has been taken on across the country, but it is important for nurses to realize that if it is not taken seriously, done properly and completed together, it will not be successful. Nurses need to know that the measures taken in these core measure protocols are tried and true efforts that work to help cure patients as well as prevent future issues for patients who are ill. There are evidence and data that can be provided to prove to nurses that these measures do in fact work, which means that nurses should take the core measure sets extremely seriously.

Some nurses might feel that since they do not work on a floor or a unit, which is typically effected by the core measure sets that they do not need to learn them. However, this is simply not true. A nurse never knows when a patient on the post-surgical floor is suddenly going to have heart failure, and therefore, nurse needs to know what the core measure set for heart failure is. At the same time, a child visiting their grandparent in the hospital could have an asthma attack and a nurse on the gerontological floor will need to provide care for that child. Again, this is a situation where knowledge of the core measure sets is vital. The Joint Commission continues to develop these sets, and nurses should constantly have a beat on what the latest news is about core measures.

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