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Quality Matters

Meera Kelley, MD, is WakeMed's vice president of quality and patient safety

The Leapfrog Group is the most recent quality-rating agency to release a report grading each hospital in America.  The vast majority of hospitals received a B or C, including WakeMed Cary Hospital, WakeMed Raleigh Campus, the Cleveland Clinic, New York Mount Sinai Medical Center, among many others.

The idea behind these quality measures is for top performance to become the norm and not the exception. I agree with this position even though measuring quality and safety has unfortunately become a profit-driven industry. (With the exception of the publicly reported data on key clinical measures and satisfaction compiled by the U.S. Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.)

In fact, the proliferation of potentially substandard, difficult-to-understand quality rankings makes me think we may need a quality ranking report for our publicly available quality rankings.

Regardless, I could spend time poking holes in the methodology used to calculate quality and safety for each of these reports grading America’s hospitals, but I would prefer to reiterate that quality and safety do matter.  In fact, nothing we do across the entire healthcare system has value if we don’t provide services that are of high quality and are delivered in a safe and patient/family-centered manner.

B and C grades may be considered “passing” in our overall troubled education system, but people trust hospitals with the health of themselves and their families.  At WakeMed, we are committed to meeting or beating patient’s expectations for quality and safety without exception.  It is top of mind day in and day out for our 8,000 employees, 1,200 medical staff members and 1,000 volunteers.  We are committed to getting right and will continue to implement solutions to continually improve quality and patient safety.

Meera Kelley, MD, is WakeMed’s vice president of quality and patient safety.