By Larry J. Goodman, MD
Many people are talking about "quality health care" these days, and at Rush, we're glad everyone is interested. And beyond just being interested, we want everyone to understand what that concept means — because it's an incredibly complex topic.
Certainly, good health begins with your own health habits at home, particularly in the areas of diet and exercise. Finding the right primary care doctor and working with him or her to make sure you are taking advantage of the best methods of prevention, early identification, and treatment of disease is also critical.
But sometimes, no matter how careful you are, a hospital admission may be necessary. Hospitals have highly skilled clinicians, new technology and new methods of bringing the very best tools to you during your stay. However, to be effective, many people must work together, new treatments and procedures must be administered without a hitch, and you must be kept informed and be made a part of the team.
These are real challenges that are not addressed with equal success across all hospitals. The Rush stroke team provides a great example of high quality care. To improve outcomes for stroke patients, physicians in the Comprehensive Stroke Program at Rush designed a system for prompt diagnosis and treatment for both inpatients and outpatients. Learn more about our outcomes.
Because there are so many visits and admissions each year, hospitals can be compared in meaningful ways concerning at least some of their key outcomes. What is the hospital-acquired complication rate? What is the risk-adjusted survival for a given procedure? How long does it take from the time of arrival for a patient with a heart attack or a stroke to receive treatment?
It is important that hospitals be aware of these values — and always strive to improve upon their performance. And, it is important that you be aware of these differences and the emphasis the hospital places on quality — because it makes a difference in your care.
So not all hospitals are the same when it comes to providing patients quality care, just as not all cars, hotels or restaurants are the same. And just like with these other industries, there are many factors that go into how they are all different.
This site will take you through many of the different components that contribute to quality care, and it will help you understand how to evaluate for yourself some of the quality of care information that's out there. We will also provide you with information on Rush's quality. To learn more, visit our Site Map.