UC Davis Medical Center ranks among top U.S. hospitals for quality, efficiency

Survey measures key safety variables

UC Davis Medical Center from the air
UC Davis Medical Center ranks among the top 45 hospitals in the nation on a new list measuring quality and efficiency.

UC Davis Medical Center ranks among the top 45 hospitals on The Leapfrog Hospital Survey — the only national, public comparison of hospitals on key variables such as mortality rates for certain common procedures, infection rates, safety practices and measures of efficiency.

The academic health center is among the 34 urban, eight children’s and three rural hospitals named 2009 Leapfrog Top Hospitals based on the results of the survey, completed by more than 1,200 hospitals nationwide.

“Delivering the highest quality and safest care for our patients always is of paramount importance for us,” said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center. “At our medical center, excellent patient care and high efficiency are simultaneous, complementary values.

"Our staff is tireless in maintaining them, and I couldn’t be prouder of their dedication to our patients and our community.”

Better quality of care

The Leapfrog Group is a national consortium that provides a broad assessment of hospital quality and safety. Some of the nation’s largest employers – such as FedEx, Boeing and Intel – spearhead the public-reporting initiative to drive improvements or “leaps” in the quality of care for their employees.

A Harvard Medical School study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Joint Commission in 2008 concluded that Leapfrog hospitals have lower mortality and better quality of care than those that don’t report to Leapfrog, said Leah Binder, the Leapfrog Group's CEO.

“We know from research that Leapfrog-reporting hospitals are among the best in the country, and they demonstrate through Leapfrog that they set ambitious goals for their performance."
— Leah Binder, Leapfrog Group CEO

“We know from research that Leapfrog-reporting hospitals are among the best in the country, and they demonstrate through Leapfrog that they set ambitious goals for their performance,” Binder said.

“Not all hospitals make the top hospital list, but every hospital that participates in Leapfrog deserves credit,” added David Knowlton, the Leapfrog Group's chair and the president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. “They are fundamentally changing the hospital market into one that is highly responsive to the quality, cost and value needs of consumers and large buyers of health care.”

Excellent patient outcomes

UC Davis Medical Center is ranked among Leapfrog’s top hospitals in urban settings for 2009. Top hospitals in urban settings fulfill the following criteria:

  • Fully meet Leapfrog standards for implementing computer physician order-entry systems (shown to reduce medication errors by up to 85 percent), and for passing Leapfrog’s test of their system;
  • Fully meet stringent performance standards for complex, high-risk procedures (such as heart bypass surgery) performed in that particular hospital;
  • Fully meet standards for intensive care unit staffing, shown to reduce mortality by 40 percent or more;
  • Score in the top 10 percent in the country for efficiency as scored by the Leapfrog Hospital Recognition Program, which incorporates quality outcomes, length of stay, readmission rates, and the incidence of hospital-acquired conditions and infections. The efficiency standard applies to heart bypass surgery, heart angioplasty, heart attack and pneumonia patients.

“Providing safe, top-notch care for our patients is always our top priority, and our entire health-care team consistently strives to maintain the highest standards in this area,” said Allan Siefkin, chief medical officer of UC Davis Health System. “Our ranking in Leapfrog’s top 45 hospitals is a reflection of our dedicated team’s hard work and our entire institution’s commitment to a strong culture of safety.”

This year’s top urban hospitals are located in 13 states: Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.

“This year’s class of Top Hospitals not only hits the mark in areas such as medication error prevention and preventing intensive care unit deaths, but they also use their resources wisely, providing excellent and efficient outcomes for patients,” said Binder, the Leapfrog CEO. “Regardless of what happens to health-care reform, these hospitals are the future.”

UC Davis Medical Center is the leading referral center in the region for the most seriously injured or ill patients and the most medically complex cases, covering 33 counties, more than 65,000 square miles and 6 million residents. It operates inland Northern California's only Level 1 trauma center, with comprehensive adult and pediatric emergency departments.

The center has been instrumental in keeping Sacramento County's preventable death rate at or below 1 percent, which is less than half the national average. Studies show patients with specific critical injuries have better survival rates and functional outcomes at Level 1 trauma centers and academic medical centers.