Patient Safety

Socially responsible organizations are committed to open communication about their performance. White Memorial's commitment to transparency flows naturally from our mission and the principles that anchor everything we do. The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality defines patient safety as: “Freedom from accidental or preventable injuries produced by medical care.”

To ensure that we provide safe care, White Memorial uses nine “core” performance measures to chart our progress: 1. Surgical Care Improvement, 2. ICU Survival, 3. Sepsis Survival, 4. PCI Survival, 5. Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Readmissions, 6. Heart Failure Readmissions, 7. Pneumonia Readmissions, 8. Blood Sugar Control in Critically Ill Patients, and 9. Hospital-Acquired Ulcers.

Performance measures are reviewed monthly and abnormal events are discussed for quality improvement.

1. Surgical Care Improvement Project:

Our aim is to improve surgical care at White Memorial by reducing surgical complications. To do this, we follow a set of process steps aimed at preventing surgical site infections and blood clots and controlling blood sugar levels prior, during and after surgery.

Improving Surgical Care Bar Graph

2. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Survival Rate:

Modern intensive care units have the highest mortality rates in any hospital. ICU survival rates are an important indicator of how well a hospital is doing in reducing medical errors and implementing medical interventions likely to reduce its overall mortality rate. White Memorial has significantly reduced the number of deaths in the ICU – improving the ICU survival rate by 3% in one year.

Improving Survival Rates in our ICU Bar Graph

3. Sepsis Survival Rate:

Sepsis is the presence of bacteria or toxins created by an infection in the patient’s blood which can spread throughout the body. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition requiring urgent and comprehensive care. In 2011, we used technology to help in the early detection of patients who might develop sepsis. This new intervention helped us continue improving this important survival rate.

Improving Survival Rates for Sepsis Patients Bar Graph

4. PCI Survival Rate:

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a non-surgical procedure used to open narrowed arteries in the heart. By inserting a catheter into an artery through the skin in the groin or arm, threading it through the artery to the area of narrowing and clearing the blockage, we can improve the blood supply to the heart. This minimally invasive practice of PCI has been instrumental in combating coronary heart disease and increasing survival rates. White Memorial continues to have an opportunity in our PCI survival rate. We are an important inner-city provider for patients brought in by our paramedics.

Improving Survival Rates for PCI Patients Bar Graph

Readmission Rates: These rates increase or decrease depending on how often a patient previously released after being hospitalized for AMI, Heart Failure, or Pneumonia has to be readmitted within 30 days of the initial stay. Our performance is based on how many patients were readmitted for any cause within 30 days of having been released.

5. Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Readmission Rate:

An acute myocardial infarction (AMI), also called a heart attack, occurs when the arteries leading to the heart become blocked and the blood supply is slowed or stopped. When the heart muscle cannot get the oxygen and nutrients it needs, the part of the heart tissue affected may die. Improvements included early communications between the Emergency Department and the patient’s cardiologist (heart doctor) and early care management.

AMI Readmission Rate Bar Graph

6. Heart Failure Readmission Rate:

Heart failure is a weakening of the heart’s pumping power as the heart muscle walls become weaker over time. Some studies estimate 15-day readmission rates for heart failure at 13% and 30-day readmission rates at approximately 25%. The difference may include hospital and post-discharge care, pre-discharge planning, home-based follow-up and patient education. Because AHWM has a high number of patients on renal dialysis and renal dialysis complicates heart failure, AHWM partnered with a large dialysis company to provide special discharge help for these complicated patients.

Heart Failure Readmission Rate Bar Graph

7. Pneumonia Readmission Rate:

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung. Bacterial pneumonia means the inflammation was caused by bacteria that get into the lungs by breathing or through the blood. Best practice treatments for bacterial pneumonia can improve a patient’s recovery rate and survival, reduce his/her potential for readmission and the need for further care.

Pneumonia Readmission Rat Bar Graph

White Memorial identified that many of our patients could not afford to buy their antibiotics when they went home. We partnered with two area pharmacies to provide low or no-cost antibiotics for these patients.

8. Blood Sugar Control in Critically Ill Patients:

Our body’s response to stress that leads to high blood sugar or hyperglycemia is common in critically ill patients, even in those without diabetes. Blood sugar control may reduce mortality in this population.

Improving Blood Sugar Control in Critically Ill Patients Bar Graph

2013 demonstrated a 10.5% increase in our ability to control blood sugar levels in critically ill patients.

9. Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcers (HAPU):

Pressure ulcers, also called pressure or bed sores, are areas where the skin has broken down. White Memorial completes a rigorous skin assessment for all patients admitted to ensure these sores do not develop or worsen while under our care. Bed sores are staged by their severity – from a wound deep under the skin with the potential for skin breakdown – to skin that is intact but red in appearance (Stage 1) to tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon or muscle (Stage 4).

Reducing Hospital Pressure Ulcers Bar Graph

AHWM continues to have benchmark performance and was recognized by CALNOC for sustained excellence.