To help keep you safe and well, UNM Health System tracks and reports process measures, which indicate whether we provide the right care, and outcome measures, which show how patients’ health performs after treatment.
Compare hospitals’ quality with Medicare’s Hospital Compare tool.
What Are Process Measures?
Process measures reveal whether we are using best medical practices. Two examples are:
- The percentage of patients who come to the emergency department with a heart attack who receive an EKG (used to diagnose a heart attack) within 10 minutes of arrival
- The percentage of patients admitted to the hospital who receive treatments to prevent blood clots in their legs or lungs
What Are Outcome Measures?
Outcome measures report how well you do after receiving care. An outcome measure is probably more important than a process measure, but is much harder to collect or interpret because:
- Outcomes vary depending on the problem that brought you to the hospital. A successful outcome for a broken hip might be very different than a successful outcome from a severe stroke.
- Outcomes depend on how sick you are before beginning treatment. For example, an elderly patient with multiple medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease will likely have worse outcomes following a serious abdominal operation, compared to a healthy adolescent. Age, the severity of a disease, and pre-existing illnesses all affect the likelihood of complications.
We take these complicating factors into consideration, but the steps used to correct for underlying illnesses aren’t perfect. That’s why it can be hard to compare outcomes between hospitals. Teaching hospitals like those in UNM Health, which usually care for the sickest patients, may have worse outcomes than hospitals that primarily treat healthier patients.
Outcome Measure Examples
Here are examples of outcome measures:
- Survival rate for patients who arrive at the hospital with a stroke
- The percentage of patients who develop a blood infection after receiving a central venous catheter
- The percent of patients with diabetes who have well controlled blood glucose measurements, indicating they’re receiving the right medications and interventions
- Rate of wound infections after surgery