True quality isn't measured in rankings, says Northwell's chief quality officer

When hospitals are ranked by reliable sources — such as The Leapfrog Group, CMS and U.S. News & World Report — top scores go a long way to reaffirming safety and satisfaction efforts for both patients and staff. Similarly, lower scores highlight where more work needs to be done.

Rankings are valuable "for what they're measuring," because they provide insight into how a hospital rates with regard to some of the most important metrics, Peter Silver, MD, senior vice president, chief quality officer and associate chief medical officer at New Hyde Park, N.Y.'s Northwell Health, told Becker's. 

"How can you possibly say that mortality rates aren't important? Or that hospital acquired infections aren't important? Or that readmission rates aren't important? Of course they're important. But we strive to excel in all those. And we would do so whether or not it was part of a rating or not," Dr. Silver said. 

Patients don't come to hospitals expecting to get infections or to fall. "In fact, they expect that that will never happen to them. Unfortunately, sometimes they do, and we have to work tirelessly to eliminate all potential sources of patient harm," Dr. Silver said.

True quality, he said, is far less about metrics and more about people. "Rankings are not the be-all, end-all for me," Dr. Silver said. "Quality has nothing to do with these metrics. Quality has to do with how each and every patient feels after they come to us for care. Patients focus on how they are cared for and how they're treated with kindness, attention and communication. And they care about how they feel after they come here." 

A true measure of quality is how a hospital works in the community to keep patients — especially those in disadvantaged communities — well. "But these things aren't measured adequately in any of these rankings," Dr. Silver said.

He said the rankings are valuable in that patients are reassured when they see top grades for their local hospitals in the media and employees feel good about working in a highly ranked hospital.

"Northwell has done very well in the rankings. Does that change what I do every day even one iota? Absolutely not. My job is to make sure we're the best at getting better," Dr. Silver said. "We want to continue to get better every day, no matter how well we're doing in the rankings. Until we are perfect, until we are the safest there is with absolutely no errors and optimal outcomes every time, we'll always have work to do."

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars