For the past year and a half, nearly 1,500 hospitals and 31 state hospital associations have engaged in an effort to dramatically improve quality of care and patient safety. They are part of a $75 million Health Research and Educational Trust grant to form a so-called Hospital Engagement Network, commonly referred to as HEN.

Initiated by HHS in Dec. 2011, the HEN project has some lofty goals — reduce patient harm by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent over two years. Nationwide, HHS issued $218 million to 26 HENs. HRET has one of the largest grants and networks.

Maulik Joshi, president of HRET, says there have been significant improvements across the HEN, including drops in readmission rates. He is quick to point out that improvements can only be made if health systems collect, analyze and act on data. He provides more insight into the HRET HEN in the interview below.

Starting next month, H&HN will visit 20 hospitals and state associations to profile their efforts to meet the HEN goals. We'll bring you their stories on a regular basis through the end of the year. Stay tuned.