UF Health Jacksonville is being recognized nationally for vast quality improvements

By: Kelly Gray-Eurom, M.D., M.M.M., FACEP

We continue to show great progress in our quality efforts at UF Health Jacksonville and across the faculty practice plan. Coordinated quality-improvement initiatives and care-enhancement projects are happening in every part of the hospital and in each department at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. We are taking real steps to create an integrated approach using the very best minds and talents of the physicians, nurses and staff who work at UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North. Our patients are directly benefiting from the results.

Over the last two years, you have been responsible for the following major improvements:

  • 88 percent reduction in post-op bleeding events
  • 78 percent reduction in post-op respiratory failure
  • 75 percent fewer iatrogenic pneumothorax events
  • 74 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • 67 percent reduction in C. difficile infections
  • 67 percent reduction in pressure ulcers
  • 66 percent reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections
  • 52 percent reduction in mortality index
  • 25 percent reduction in emergency room length of stay
  • 7 percent reduction in overall hospital length of stay

Many public quality reports give us poor marks because they use algorithms that report data from three to five years ago. The 2017 CMS report has data from 2014 and 2015. It can be a little frustrating to be portrayed poorly when we know just how well we are doing. However, some of the data in some of the reports are catching up.

We are pleased to learn UF Health Jacksonville has moved up 33 spots in the annual Vizient Quality and Accountability ratings of hospitals and academic health centers nationwide. We moved up from 77th in 2016 to 44th this year, giving us a three-star rating. This is the fourth straight year we have made notable improvements in this evaluation.

Vizient, formerly UHC, assesses dozens of measures in mortality, efficiency, safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness and equity. It also includes patient satisfaction data from HCAHPS surveys. The Vizient study is considered the most rigorous and credible analysis of its kind. The results mean our patients are not only experiencing fewer complications, but also are more satisfied with the care they receive.

We were recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as having the 37th best ear, nose and throat program in the country. The same report gave us high-performance ranks for nephrology, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure care. In August, the Transitional Care Unit received an outstanding commendation from the CMS Health Services Advisory Group for excellence in the prevention of hospital-acquired events such as falls, pressure ulcers and infections. It will take a few years, but eventually, the data in the public reports will catch up and we will be recognized for the outstanding work being done now.

The ambulatory practice locations are taking great steps forward, as well. There is now strong collaboration with Infection Prevention and Control. Care managers have been hired in the primary care locations and are helping providers close care gaps as part of the Health Planet project. Evidence-based ambulatory best-practice guidelines are being coordinated with inpatient best-practice guidelines. The cross-collaboration is incredible.

Your willingness to find systems solutions and implement best-practice changes has resulted in dramatic improvements in the health of our patients in a remarkably short time period. Just imagine where we will be in the next two years.