CHORDS

Correctional professionals now have access to a system that promises to transform performance improvement efforts. CHORDS is a data sharing system designed for correctional health care settings.

While measurement underlies health care quality improvement efforts within facilities, it does not enable examination of performance on a large scale in comparison with peers. For that, benchmarking is essential.

Such benchmarking is common in hospitals and health networks but less so in correctional health care, although it could greatly enhance quality and effectiveness of care. This is due, in part, to a lack of robust performance measures tailored to the unique correctional setting, as well as the absence of a way for facilities to share data.

To address this problem, NCCHC established a national performance measurement system called the Correctional Health Outcomes and Resource Data Set. CHORDS was originally developed by experts in correctional health care working in partnership with numerous prisons and jails. It is an innovative, client-driven quality improvement initiative that is providing much-needed data for comparison of clinical processes and outcomes. Proof-of-concept activities provided valuable information and experience that have enabled the project to move to an exciting new phase: CHORDS-QI.

Based on nearly 40 years of gathering correctional health care quality data, CHORDS – Quality Improvement is a  collaborative effort that will enable correctional health care systems to participate in structured improvement programs on various topics critical to meeting NCCHC standards and, in the future, disease-specific improvement.

Broadly speaking, CHORDS consists of the following elements:

  • Standardized performance measures, with an emphasis on national standards of quality in correctional health care systems
  • A data repository to establish regional and national benchmarks
  • Data reporting capabilities to help correctional systems track, trend and compare data over time

Benefits of Participation

The benefits from taking part in CHORDS-QI are many. CHORDS-QI provides participants with powerful tools for understanding and managing the health of their inmates. Importantly, having a better handle on performance against national standards is a major step toward managing health care quality. There are numerous ways to study performance data and CHORDS provides a high level of flexibility. As the repository grows and data are analyzed, CHORDS’ ability to support local, regional and national benchmarking will strengthen.

To learn more about CHORDS, contact us at chords@ncchcresources.org.