UCSF Medical Center Gets Great HealthGrades

UCSF Leads State in Patient Satisfaction, Patient Safety

UCSF Medical Center was the only hospital in California to lead in both patient satisfaction and patient safety in a new report from HealthGrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

UCSF Medical Center at the Parnassus campus

UCSF Medical Center was the only hospital in California to lead in patient satisfaction and patient safety, according to a new report by HealthGrades.

The recently issued report lists hospitals in the United States receiving the 2012 HealthGrade awards for outstanding patient experience and excellence in patient safety. Only 47 hospitals across the country — including UCSF Medical Center — were singled out as “superior performers’’ in both categories.

"For more than a decade, we have been on a quest to elevate the clinical services that UCSF provides to equal the quality of research for which UCSF has been so well known nationally and internationally," said Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "We are very close to achieving that goal."

The report evaluated some 5,000 hospitals in the United States and approximately 40 million Medicare hospitalizations from 2008 to 2010.

As part of the analysis, a random sampling of patients was given a 27-question survey after they were discharged — patients were queried about physician communication, nursing communication, communication about medication, responsiveness of nursing services, adequacy of discharge planning, pain management, and hospital cleanliness. The survey took place between April 2010 and March 2011.

HealthGrades then evaluated the relationship between the survey results and the rates of 13 potentially preventable patient safety events. HealthGrades also evaluated the nation’s hospitals based on their performance around the 13 preventable safety events and separately evaluated patient satisfaction using the patient surveys to identify the top-performing hospitals.

Altogether, 47 hospitals nationally made both the patient satisfaction and patient safety lists, but only UCSF Medical Center was recognized in California as an elite performer. in both patient safety and patient satisfaction. These two areas are considered important measures of hospital quality — patients at the top-rated hospitals were less likely to experience a medical error.  

“Not surprisingly, HealthGrades found that hospitals with the highest ratings on nursing and physician communication had better track records with lower rates of the 13 patients safety indicators,’’ the editors noted, stressing that communication problems can be a common cause of medical errors. “Most of the medical community agrees that what patients report about their experiences during a hospital stay matter a great deal…communication is key to educating and engaging patients as well as providing safe care.’’

Safety improves when physicians and nurses communicate well, the report pointed out, leading to fewer issues such as post-operate infections, bed sores, catheter-related infections, and deep blood clots after surgery.

For patient experience, UCSF and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center were the only two university medical centers honored of the ten California hospitals on the list.

For patient safety experience, UCSF was the only university medical center of the 24 California hospitals on the list.

“We have come a long way,’’ Laret said in a letter to UCSF colleagues. “I couldn’t be prouder of what you have accomplished.’’

More than 200 million consumers use HealthGrades.com to find, compare, select, and connect with a physician or hospital, and use its comprehensive information about clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, patient safety, and health conditions to make more informed health care decisions.

Read the full HealthGrades' report here. [PDF]