Hospitals and health systems have made substantial advances in improving care quality over the past decade and patients have reported more favorable experiences with their hospitals, according to an AHA report released today. Specifically, the TrendWatch report highlights how hospitals and health systems have significantly reduced the incidence of many hospital-acquired conditions and healthcare-associated infections, reduced avoidable readmissions, dramatically reduced early-elective deliveries and improved outcomes for patients. The report also says that in order to support continuous improvements, policymakers should align the three core components of hospital quality — quality measurement, quality improvement, and conditions of participation and standards. With this alignment, policies can and should embrace a strategic focus on: measures that matter the most to improving outcomes and health in measurement and pay-for-performance programs; continuous quality improvement that makes care safer and more effective; standards that enable innovation and require adherence to fundamental principles necessary to protect patients, according to the report. See the AHA webpage for an executive summary of the report and an infographic.