Mortality (or death) rates tell us how many patients die relative to what is expected, given a variety of complicating characteristics. These include age, chronic conditions like diabetes or heart failure, or whether the patient was transferred from another hospital or admitted as an emergency.
These measures are reported by Vizient, an alliance of academic medical centers and their affiliated hospitals representing approximately 90 percent of the nation's not-for-profit academic medical centers.
Because some hospitals, such as academic medical centers like Rush, tend to take care of significantly sicker patients, the observed-to-expected rate of mortality (or death) is adjusted to take into account how sick patients were before being admitted to the hospital. This rate is then referred to as risk adjusted. Without risk adjustment, we cannot accurately compare our performance with other hospitals.