NuHealth is committed to both continuous quality improvement and transparency in its efforts to deliver excellent essential health care. That is why I am proud to announce the inception of NuOutcomes — a special new section of our website where you can learn how we stack up in comparison to other health care providers. Developed by our quality management staff, NuOutcomes is a frank and independent examination of where we have been, and a roadmap of our progress toward excellence.
The information is presented in-easy-to-read charts with pop-up definitions that explain what each measure means. We have also included links to other prominent public report cards for your reference. And, if you have a specific question about the information, you can easily contact our Quality team online.
The rankings presented are developed from core quality data submitted to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services and other independent organizations. They track a variety of evidence-based scientifically researched standards of care that have been shown to result in improved clinical outcomes for patients. We also participate in a variety of quality initiatives, including the Surgical Care Improvement Project/Heart Failure (SCIP/HF) Initiative, the Obstetric Safety Initiative, and the broad-based Five Million Lives Campaign of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
There are three important things to keep in mind when viewing any information about health care outcomes.
Rankings reflect older information — Data gathered by state, federal and independent professional organizations take time to compile, analyze and report, often as much as two years. As a result, rankings are a more useful tool for tracking changes than measuring current experiences. However, they do provide important information that can help guide an institution to areas in need of improvement.
Reporting of problems is not always consistent from hospital to hospital. One hospital may do a better job of detecting and reporting complications and/or infections than other hospitals, making it seem that its outcomes are worse, when, in reality, that hospital is simply collecting data more effectively.
Higher-risk patients can skew reported results. When a hospital treats more patients whose general health puts them at higher risk (which often includes those who have received inadequate health care because of their socioeconomic status), its percentage of poorer outcomes will be higher than the average. Although most quality indicators include risk-adjustment factors, if the statistical model fails to consider those factors adequately, the hospital may not get full credit for the complexity of its cases.
These caveats aside, we do not shy away from examining our shortcomings. Far from it. Instead, we have chosen to open our doors to public scrutiny, confident that day by day we are working toward our goals. I encourage you to check back every quarter to watch our ongoing progress at NuOutcomes. Because we know the journey to excellence is not a sprint, but a marathon that never truly ends.