Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown were recently ranked in the nation’s top 10 academic medical centers for quality leadership by a University HealthSystems Consortium (UHC) study.

Emory University Hospital was ranked second on the list, while Emory University Hospital Midtown was ranked third.

According to its website, UHC is a national organization representing academic medical centers across the country. UHC annually recognizes the top 10 academic medical centers that demonstrate superior performance in delivering high-quality patient care. Using its Quality and Accountability Study, UHC evaluates academic medical centers on factors such as patient safety, mortality, clinical effectiveness and equity of care.

William Bornstein, chief quality and medical officer for Emory Healthcare, said Emory Healthcare implemented various measures to improve its quality score in the past few years. One such measure was creating a “Quality Academy,” which educates health care leaders on terminology, basic concepts and approaches to improvement.

“There’s a whole other set of skills that historically most health care providers haven’t been trained in, so that’s why we needed to develop the Quality Academy and help train people in the techniques,” Bornstein said.

In addition, Bornstein said Emory Healthcare created the “Care Transformation” model, which addresses ways that employees and health care providers work together to deliver patient and family-centered care.

“We’ve made quality our No. 1 priority in the organization and made sure that the quality measures are visible,” Bornstein said.

Bornstein said quality in health care used to primarily refer to new treatments, diagnostic tests and inventions. He added that while these are important, health care quality should also encompass dimensions such as knowledge, transparency and education.

President and CEO of Emory Healthcare John Fox discussed the patient-centered aspect of healthcare quality.

“Since 2006, Emory Healthcare has been on a journey to redefine the quality of care and service we provide to our patients,” Fox wrote in an email to the Wheel. “We believe over these past seven years, we have made significant strides in infection rate reduction, mortality reduction, ventilator-acquired pneumonia and many other quality and safety indicators to improve outcomes for our patients.”

Despite the latest rankings, Bornstein said health care is complex to evaluate through ranking processes.

“Most of these measurement systems are just scratching the surface,” Bornstein said. “But I think they have value. What’s really happened is it’s driven everybody to improve.”

By Harmeet Kaur

Photo by James Crissman