Patient Care Excellence

UC San Francisco is recognized throughout the world for innovative treatments, advanced technology and pioneering research in patient care.

Anuradha Banerjee, MD, with patient. 

Clinical programs cover virtually all medical, mental health and dental specialties for adults, adolescents and children, creating a comprehensive health care service delivered by teams of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who are experts in their fields. Their compassionate care and teamwork are keys to the success of the UCSF clinical enterprise. 

UCSF patient care is ranked nationally among the best in the country, and all providers in UCSF patient care programs are committed to quality, safety and patient satisfaction. Among the highlights:

  • UCSF Medical Center: The medical center consistently ranks among the top 10 hospitals nationally in the annual best hospitals survey by US News & World Report, and consistently exceeds the most widely used patient satisfaction and safety measures in the nation.  UCSF Medical Center is an academic medical center and a quaternary care hospital, providing advanced patient care that is highly specialized and not widely available. The quaternary designation refers to a patient care facility offering clinical services above primary care to level four, the highest level.  The medical center has three main clinical sites, Parnassus, Mount Zion and Mission Bay, and maintains numerous primary care and specialty clinics throughout San Francisco and Northern California.
  • UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals: Ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation by US News & World Report, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco is part of UCSF Medical Center. The hospital has more than 150 specialists in more than 40 areas of children’s health. In 2014, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital affiliated with Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. The combined UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals – with locations in San Francisco and Oakland – is the largest network of children’s medical providers in Northern California and among the 10 largest in the country.
  • UCSF Dental Center: The dental center operates 14 clinics at three San Francisco sites, providing comprehensive dental services from routine care to the most sophisticated oral health care available today.  
  • Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics: The clinical arm of UCSF’s Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, this service has inpatient, partial hospitalization and outpatient programs for a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder, among many others.

As one of the world’s leading health sciences universities, UCSF integrates its patient care services with research and education programs that are ranked among the best in the country. This collaboration serves as the foundation for an ongoing process to improve patient care now and in the future.

Opportunity for Pioneering Treatments

UCSF patient care is strengthened through a University-wide commitment to translational medicine and the work of UCSF clinical and basic science research teams who are dedicated to speeding discoveries from the laboratory to clinical care programs, where they can benefit patients.

Roberta K. Oka, RN, ANP, DNSc

Roberta K. Oka, RN, visiting with patient Clinton Hallum at Cardio Clinic.

“UCSF excels in the partnership and teamwork that translational medicine demands,” says Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “It is what enables us to bring discovery into common use.”

For patients, this means the opportunity to receive pioneering treatments through clinical research studies, commonly called clinical trials. These trials test the safety and effectiveness of new, experimental medications and treatments. UCSF is active in about 1,000 clinical trials that often are not available elsewhere. Many of these new treatment options were developed by UCSF clinical and basic science research teams, while others were developed by UCSF’s colleagues across the United States and in other countries.

Quality and Safety are Priorities

The top priority in all UCSF clinical programs is to provide the safest and highest-quality care to patients. Treatment protocols are continually monitored and measured, and performance is evaluated against UCSF’s own rigorous standards and industry benchmarks.

“Our multidisciplinary team approach has been very successful in improving our systems of care, but it remains our goal to become the safest hospital in the world,” says Josh Adler, MD, chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center.

The medical center’s quality and safety program ranges from strict hand-washing policies to reducing hospital-acquired infections and preventing pressure ulcers.

In addition, UCSF was among the pioneers in establishing a specialty of medical experts called hospitalists, who coordinate the sometimes mind-boggling array of treatments a hospital patient may receive from multiple specialists. Many patients at UCSF undergo complex treatments for cancer, organ transplantation and a variety of other conditions, and the safe and effective coordination of all elements of their care is the highest priority -- as it is for all UCSF patients. 

Collaboration Among All UCSF Programs

Patient care teams work closely with patients and their families to decide on the best treatments for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients. Care teams draw on programs across all four UCSF professional schools, such as the Research Center for Symptom Management at the UCSF School of Nursing, which tests and improves ways for patients and their providers to manage symptoms such as pain or nausea.

Patient care teams also include UCSF clinical pharmacists, who serve as drug therapy specialists and are active in providing direct care to patients.  Shifting the pharmacist's role from medication dispenser to therapeutic expert has been a critical factor in reducing medication errors. The UCSF School of Pharmacy pioneered the concept worldwide in 1966.

Training the Next Generation of Caregivers

In its role as a health sciences university, UCSF maintains a network of teaching hospitals and clinical sites where students enrolled in UCSF’s four professional schools and other trainees work with patient care teams as part of their learning experience.

Teaching sites serve as an essential training ground for the next generation of health care professionals, while patients benefit from having many clinical care specialists working together with shared concerns for their well-being.

The UCSF teaching network includes all UCSF hospitals and clinical programs, as well as regional hospitals and medical centers in California's Central Valley that are affiliated with the UCSF Fresno Program.

San Francisco General Hospital and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center also are teaching hospitals for UCSF students and trainees. Through affiliation agreements, UCSF faculty physicians are based at these hospitals, where they serve as the medical staff.