Today we learned that four UNC Health Care medical specialties were ranked in this year’s U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” issue. Ear, Nose & Throat (21), Gastroenterology (27), Gynecology (27), and Cancer (47) were listed among the best in the country.
This is the 18th year in a row that multiple specialties at UNC Hospitals have been included in U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals list. However, the high quality care we provide is not fully reflected in these rankings.
For that reason, in 2008, we formed a UNC task force to find ways to improve our rankings in U.S. News. This group examined the survey methodology and our own processes at UNC Health Care. The task force and all of us are working to put into place changes that we feel confident will improve our rankings. More importantly, these efforts will help us improve our care across the board.
U.S. News and World Report ranks hospitals based on scores from three main areas – structure, outcomes, and reputation, with a small percentage based on a measure of certain outcomes and complications that is reported as “patient safety.” The data is gathered and analyzed on a rolling three-year basis. It will take time to improve our rankings.
Two major efforts that should boost our rankings include pursuing Nurse Magnet status and improving our documentation. UNC Hospitals submitted all of the necessary materials to be considered for Nurse Magnet Status earlier this year. We were selected for a site visit in September.
In addition, we have a new emphasis on documentation for quality of care. This effort, led by Dr. Brian Goldstein, UNC Hospitals’ Chief Operating Officer, the Performance Improvement Division, Medical Information Management, and other groups across the health care system, involves changes to WebCIS that make it easier for clinicians to document diagnosis codes necessary to show the complexity of our patients’ health situations as well as an emphasis on coding.
While there are many ways to measure our successes, we know that many people judge UNC Health Care in part because of U.S. News rankings. Our delivery of high quality health care has improved in recent years, and I hope the rankings will reflect these improvements in the future.
In the meantime, I want you to know that our efforts are already recognized by our patients. Our patient satisfaction scores from both Press Ganey and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Provider Systems (HCAHPS) have improved dramatically in the past several years.
I thank you for your hard work at improving our patients’ experiences at UNC Health Care. In time, I believe the care we provide will be justly reflected in the U.S. News & World Report rankings as well.
William L. Roper, MD, MPH
CEO, UNC Health Care System
Dean, UNC School of Medicine
UNC has ranked highly in other U.S. News & World Report lists this year:
* The UNC School of Medicine again ranked among the best medical schools in the nation. Click here to read more.
* The N.C. Children's Hospital was ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the areas of respiratory disorders and diabetes and endocrinology. Click here to read more.