Lake Chelan Health is the latest recipient of the WSHA’s Rural Quality Every Day Extraordinary Award. (The Washington State Hospital Association is an advocacy group comprising about 100 hospitals.)

According to the WSHA website, "This award recognizes a rural hospital completing an exceptional quality improvement project."

The Aggregate Quality Score is a Lake Chelan original. It's a highly novel, cutting-edge method of self-evaluation that gauges "organization-wide quality," according to a WSHA press release.

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How is the Aggregate Quality Score tabulated? By weighing a variety of factors: "contract management, externally reported performance measures, patient satisfaction, policy adherence and the ability to maintain high-quality standards."

According to safety official Darcy Jaffe, the Aggregate Quality Score could have far-reaching and lastingly positive ramifications for healthcare in Washington. It "sets a new standard for measuring and enhancing care while offering an approach that can benefit rural hospitals and communities across our state.”

This achievement is all the more impressive when you consider that Lake Chelan Health faced no shortage of redoubtable competition. A half-dozen regional providers - including Kittitas Valley Health in Ellensburg - duked it out for the top prize. In the end, though, there could only be one winning proposal.

The proposals were judged on five dimensions: "significance, data-driven approach, culture of safety, results and scalability." That last metric, it seems, is of particular importance. The WSHA was impressed with the Aggregate Quality Score largely because it's easily replicable across hospitals. In fact, "Judges for the award recommended other rural hospitals consider adopting a similar methodology."

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Take a look at their rankings of Colorado's best hospitals.

Gallery Credit: David Damuth

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