Excellent, compassionate patient care is driving our improved quality ratings.

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

In September, our Vizient Quality and Accountability scores arrived the same time as Hurricane Irma. When reflecting on the results, everyone should be exceptionally proud. UF Health Jacksonville jumped 33 spots in the annual ratings and ranking of hospitals and academic health centers nationwide. We ranked 44th this year, up from 77th in 2016. We have made dramatic improvements in our quality scores over the last three years. We ranked 78th in 2015 and 92nd in 2014.

The number is significant, but the care being delivered to our patients is even more important. We are making a real impact on the people we serve.

The improvements made in hand hygiene; chlorhexidine gluconate, or CHG; prep prior to surgery; compliance with personal protective equipment; screening programs; and Foley decath, midline and central line care have resulted in a 54 percent reduction in hospital-acquired infections. This is all the result of real patient care being provided by your hands.

Your work to decrease hospital infections, early detection and care of sepsis, avoid iatrogenic complications and develop clear plans of care have improved overall mortality to an observed/expected ratio of 0.75. Yes, some of that is improvements in documentation to better reflect the high acuity of the patients, but there has been so much more. Your work has saved nearly 100 more patients this year compared with last year. You are saving patients who might not otherwise be saved.

Your use of the patient event safety system IDinc has allowed us to find systems issues before they become a patient-care problem. And if something has occurred, your willingness to investigate and innovate has led to dozens of improvements to avoid problems in the future.

There is always more work to do, and we will continue to improve. We will begin advanced work with care coordination, transitions of care and readmission reduction. But for just a bit, you should sit back and take a moment to celebrate what you have accomplished. You deserve it.