Q & A With the UH Chief Quality Officer
Chief Quality Officer Shares Thoughts on Quality at University Hospitals
University Hospitals Institute for Health Care Quality & Innovation represents UH’s commitment to continuous improvement of clinical care quality and patient satisfaction, according to Chief Quality Officer and institute director William L. Annable, MD.
Find out more about Dr. Annable’s thoughts on quality at UH:
- How does clinical care quality at University Hospitals compare nationally?
We stack up very well. In 2011, for instance, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center was named one of the top hospitals in the nation by the Leapfrog Group, which represents insurers and employers who pay for care. That is a very demanding audience when it comes to quality and value, so Leapfrog’s standards are among the very toughest. Leapfrog evaluated objective data on patient outcomes from 1,200 hospitals nationwide, and honored only the 65 best. No other northeast Ohio hospital earned the honor. We are very proud of that award, and of many other quality awards we have consistently earned over the years at UH Cleveland Medical Center, at our community hospitals and as a system.
- So with all the awards and the national recognition for quality, why did University Hospitals feel it necessary to establish the UH Quality Institute in 2011?
We take great pride in our track record of excellence. At the same time, we are never satisfied. We constantly look for ways to improve clinical care and patient satisfaction. We innovate and develop better ways to provide care, and we learn from other institutions. If you think about “the best” as a goal, you have to understand that it is a moving target – best practices constantly evolve. Clinical care and patient satisfaction are improving around the country. We want to stay among the very best. So we keep trying harder to provide superior clinical care and deliver an extraordinary experience for our patients, every single day.
- What are the UH Institute for Health Care Quality & Innovation’s goals?
Improved outcomes, more satisfied patients and better value, all across the UH system. We’re developing data-based, patient-focused metrics for every aspect of quality: clinical care, patient satisfaction, safety, process improvement, research and education. Then we’re dedicating teams of top experts to find the highest-value ways to achieve those goals. We’re learning from best practices in the health care industry – and we’re establishing them for other institutions to aspire toward.
- How did you design the UH Institute for Health Care Quality & Innovation?
We started with our own outstanding quality program as a solid base. Then we visited hospitals all throughout the country to learn from their quality programs. We combined the best elements of each into something we believe will be a national model.
- Does better quality drive up costs?
On the contrary, it’s good business. For example, let’s think about the way hospitals get reimbursed for care. The federal government and private insurers are using new carrots and sticks aimed at getting high-quality outcomes at lower cost. Medicare, the federal insurance program that provides 41 percent of all hospital payments, is phasing in big monetary incentives for reaching goals for clinical quality and patient satisfaction, and penalties for missing them. Then, consider simple market principles: Patients want top clinical quality and a pleasant experience, and they will take their dollars to whoever gives them both.
- So quality is competitive?
Very much so, especially in this new consumer-driven health care environment. And at UH, we want to continue to win.