Patients and families know quality care when they experience it. A nurse's response time, a doctor's bedside manner, the hospital's atmosphere—all of these things affect how people feel about the quality of their healthcare.
When hospitals talk about quality, it is generally in reference to very clinical data collected and analyzed over a period of time. This information can provide insights into how well a department or institution achieves desired health outcomes for a particular procedure and meets standards of care.
Quality measurement isn't always easy. Quality data come in many forms. Information can be pulled from clinical records, billing information or administrative codes that are used to classify diagnoses and conditions. The data is run through complex math models to try and make it meaningful.
Adding to this complexity is the fact different agencies and groups have different ways of reporting clinical outcomes that can affect the way they rate a hospital on a certain quality measure.
Your hospital’s rankings, decoded
To learn more about how hospitals are ranked so that you can be informed, please visit The Advisory Board »
Accurate quality data depends on accurate documentation
Because quality data are pulled from multiple sources, documentation plays a crucial role in measurement.
- When treating a patient, a practitioner needs to accurately and consistently report the specific diagnosis and document the treatment that the patient receives
- If the practitioner makes an error in the documentation process, it can have a negative effect on the hospital's rating—even if the patient's clinical outcome is optimal.
Stanford Health Care has implemented a state-of-the-art electronic documentation system and trained our health care practitioners to ensure that documentation is accurate and specific. Accurate documentation helps to limit reporting errors, so our clinical and administrative staff can better identify true clinical improvement opportunities.
Stanford Health Care’s state-of-the-art electronic medical record system helps to ensure accurate data tracking.
Many factors affect quality rankings
The number of patients a hospital treats for a condition or procedure and the severity of a patient's illness when they check into a hospital are two factors that can affect a hospital's quality rating.
Some evidence suggests that the quality of care for patients with certain conditions or procedures is related to the number of patients treated at that hospital for those conditions or procedures, especially if the procedure is risky or extremely difficult.
Severity of illness
The severity of a patient's illness is also a key factor in measuring the quality of care at a hospital. A standard measure to compare patients' severity of illness between hospitals is called the Case Mix Index (CMI). Hospitals with a high CMI treat a greater number of severely ill patients, which impacts overall clinical outcomes.
We are committed to caring for the most critically ill patients
Stanford Health Care has one of the highest Case Mix Index (CMI) in the country because we specialize in caring for complex diseases and conditions. Despite our high CMI, we maintain very positive outcomes, even when compared to hospitals that treat patients with illnesses that are less severe. Read Quality Data »