In its annual report on hospital quality and safety, the Joint Commission stated that America’s hospitals continue to make strides toward improving patient safety and quality for common conditions for which people enter the hospital.

America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety presents information on how well more than 3,300 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals performed on individual measures of patient care during 2015. Measures covered in the report relate to children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, venous thromboembolism care, stroke care, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco use treatment, and substance use care.

The Joint Commission chose the measures for reporting because they provide concrete data about the types of treatment or practices for common conditions for which people enter the hospital and seek care. Reporting the data is a requirement of Joint Commission accreditation for most hospitals.

In conjunction with the report, The Joint Commission recognized 39 Pioneers in Quality hospitals at the forefront of a new era in health care quality reporting—one in which hospitals collect information on the quality of patient care through electronic health records, and report the data to The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“The results featured in The Joint Commission’s 2016 Annual Report are important because they show that accredited hospitals have continued to improve the quality of the care they provide, and the data that hospitals collect help them identify opportunities for further improvement,” says Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.

“The results also show it’s important to note that where a patient receives care makes a difference. Some hospitals perform better than others in treating particular conditions.”

For 2015, The Joint Commission required most accredited hospitals to select six measure sets for reporting. Hospitals chose sets best reflecting their patient populations and the services they provide, and reported on all applicable measures in each set. Hospitals submitted monthly data on a quarterly basis; the data is reported to the public on The Joint Commission’s Quality Check website.

Of the 33 measures described in the Joint Commission report, 29 are accountability measures, focused on evidence-based care processes that are closely linked to positive patient outcomes. The measures are relevant for accreditation, public reporting, and pay-for-performance programs that hold providers accountable to external oversight entities and the public for their performances.

According to the report, performance on accountability measures among hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission continues to improve and greatly enhance the quality of care provided.