Safety and quality study ranks Rush among the nation's best


Rush University Medical Center has been named a top-performing hospital in a special quality and safety benchmarking study conducted by the University HealthSystems Consortium (UHC).

The other top-performing hospitals identified by UHC were Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic in Madison, Wis., the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. Results of the study were shared at UHC's 6th annual Quality and Safety Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., on September 22. UHC, based in Oak Brook, Ill., is an alliance of 92 academic medical centers that offers its members specific programs and services to improve clinical and operational performance.

Unlike other reviews of hospitals that take into account reputation, the UHC study is completely objective; it's based entirely on patient-level outcomes data, measuring patient safety, mortality, efficiency and equity of care. The UHC study estimated that if a middle or average performing hospital made the improvements necessary to become a top performing hospital, about 150 lives would be save each year.

The study, which involved some of the nation's finest academic medical centers, was designed to identify the organizational and cultural factors that contribute to superior patient care. The first step involved a rigorous review of safety and quality measures X including JCAHO core measures X of the 79 participating member institutions. Based on that initial review, UHC chose to visit three institutions whose data indicated they were ranked in the top percentile of academic health centers in terms of safety, quality and outcomes, as well as three institutions with average or middle rankings in these areas. Neither the institutions nor the UHC survey teams were aware of the rankings. The Rush site visit took place in July.

During the site visits, several key themes emerged among the top performers, according to the UHC. These themes support the view that organizations with these characteristics are better positioned to deliver consistently safe and effective care to all the patients they serve:

  • Commitment to quality patient care and a focus on service excellence
  • Responsibility and accountability for service, quality and safety at all levels, from individual departments to senior management
  • Leaders who used objective measures and external comparisons to evaluate their center's performance, and who actively sought to address areas of under performance
  • A highly collaborative partnership between physicians, nurses and other care providers
  • Strong and passionate leadership

According to a report published by UHC: Top-performing hospitals have made it clear that they are in the business of caring for patients. Quality care delivered in a safe and reliable manner is how top-performing organizations support their 'patients first' mission. All UHC members are concerned about quality and safety, but the top performers focus on the issue with a singular intensity.

"Being named a top performer by UHC, which places Rush in the top one percent of UHC member institutions, validates the hard work and dedication of every employee at Rush and reaffirms our mission of providing the very best care for our patients." said Dr. Larry Goodman, president and CEO of Rush. "At Rush, our education and research endeavors, community service and relationships with other hospitals, are dedicated to enhancing excellence in patient care for the diverse communities of the Chicago area now and in the future."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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