The University of Vermont Medical Center finished in the Top 20 in the 2014 University Health Consortium annual ratings, a ranking of the nation’s leading academic medical centers.

This is the fourth consecutive year we have finished in the top 20. That puts us in very elite company. The academic centers included in this study are the most prominent in the country. The competition is intense and, ultimately, good for our patients and the more than 100 medical centers that participate. We are all improving the quality and safety of the care we deliver every year.

Less than a handful of academic medical centers are able to finish consistently in the Top 20. To stay at the top, you have to consistently improve faster than the other hospitals in the survey. And, that is what we keep doing – improving.

  • For the second year in a row, we were ranked SECOND in the country in supply chain management, a recognition of our commitment to being a high-quality, low-cost provider of health care through cost management, enhanced business processes, a unified supply chain organization and meaningful informatics.
  • Our mortality scores significantly improved, moving us up in the rankings from 48th to 24th.  These improvements were seen in a wide range of areas, including CT surgery, neurosurgery, general medicine and pulmonary medicine.
  • Our rankings overall and in patient safety are in the top 20 – where we have been for four out of the last five years- and our individual scores in these areas actually improved.

Staying in the Top 20 confirms that our focus on high reliability is paying off for our patients. We are providing safe, high quality care consistently, year after year for our patients. Some of the improvements made this year include:

  • Radiofrequency sponges in the operating room that greatly reduce the risk of retained foreign bodies after surgery.
  • A new radiology follow-up system that assures that patients who need follow-up studies are identified and confirms that the studies occur at the right time. We believe we are the first hospital in the country to be doing this.
  • Finally, we installed an improved patient safety reporting system last year. This helps us identify trends and concerns. Our improved system also coordinates with UHC so that we can see national trends and benchmark ourselves against our peers. It also allows us to learn collectively from all the academic medical centers that enter their data.

The UHC annual survey is a great opportunity to see where we stand compared to the best academic medical centers in the country. We are very proud of this accomplishment and focused once again on being even better in 2015.

Stephen M. Leffler, MD, FACEP, is the Chief Medical Officer at the UVM Medical Center, former Medical Director of the Emergency Department, and has been a practicing physician for 20 years. He is also a Professor at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM. He grew up in Brandon, VT.

Stephen M. Leffler, Professor at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM and former Medical Director of the Emergency Department, has been a practicing physician for 20 years.

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