Quality

Quality in healthcare is defined as "doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right person, and having the best possible result." UAB Health System is dedicated to providing every patient with the best experience and highest quality care available.

Reporting any problems during your stay
Throughout the hospital, you will find Guest Services desks to any problem you may have. You may also pick up any hospital phone and dial *55, you will immediately connect to someone who can help you.

More Resources

Hospital Compare - Information on the quality of care at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals across the country.
Join Us On The Journey - Information about ongoing initiatives to continue to improve healthcare in Alabama.

How many patients have you treated?
Many studies have shown, with more experience comes better outcomes. Whereas physicians at some medical facilities may perform only a handful of specialized procedures each year, UAB physicians treat thousands of patients and perform thousands of procedures. Last year, UAB treated over 360,000 outpatients and over 41,000 inpatients. Seeing a doctor who has treated other patients with conditions similar to yours is key to a successful outcome.

How do I know I will receive the best experience at UAB?
Patients who visit our facilities are surveyed after their stay and we are proud to report that 83% of our patients reported they would definitely recommend UAB to their friends and family.

How do I know I am getting the latest advances in medical care?
UAB is on the forefront of medicine, staying up-to-date on the latest procedures, equipment, research trials and medicines. As part of the UAB School of Medicine, our physicians have participated in the discovery of many novel drugs and vaccines. They have pioneered new diagnostic and treatment technologies. You can be assured that medical professionals at UAB are constantly learning and translating that knowledge to our patients.

Does UAB participate in research trials?
Many specialties at UAB actively participate in research trials. Because the test drugs and procedures today become the standard treatments of tomorrow, research trials are an integral part of medicine at UAB. Many people are candidates for research trials, and your physician will keep you informed about your options.

How do I know I am selecting the best doctor for my condition?
UAB selects only the best and brightest doctors to be a part of our network of physicians. Because UAB is only as good as the doctors we employ, we make it a priority to find doctors who are caring, knowledgeable in their specialty and constantly staying abreast of new technologies and treatments in their field. UAB doctors have continuously been ranked by "The Best Doctors in America," with over 300 UAB physicians ranked, representing 67 percent of the all Alabama physicians ranked in the list. A complete list of the UAB physicians named in Best Doctors is available at www.uabmedicine.org/Bestdoctors.

In addition, many UAB programs are deemed the best in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Many physicians have won national and international awards within their specialties. Additionally, UAB doctors often do write the textbooks that teach the doctors of tomorrow, which means that they are highly knowledgeable about their specialties.

What kind of nursing care can I expect?
UAB was one of the first hospitals in the state of Alabama designated as a Magnet nursing facility for excellence in nursing care. This means that our nurses are the best around and provide you with quality, compassionate, family-centered care.

How do you measure the quality of nursing care?
Nursing care is multi-dimensional, and UAB adheres to national standards with regards to patient care and outcomes. We measure the quality of our nursing care with consumer input and responses through questionnaires as well as quality outcomes for our patients based on their diagnosis. At UAB, patient satisfaction is out top goal, and we strive to provide you with the best care possible. Every patient at UAB has the opportunity to speak out about their care.

What sort of accolades and awards have you received?
UAB is a Magnet nursing facility. Magnet designation is the most prestigious award for a nursing staff, given to only a small percentage of hospitals. This award recognizes outstanding nursing leadership, nurse development and professional development. Nurses at UAB are highly educated and many hold national certification to show that they are the best in their area of expertise. Additionally, UAB nursing participates in research that is changing the face of medicine of tomorrow.

UAB's ranking by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's best hospitals is in part due to our Magnet nursing certification. In addition, UAB nurses strive to have a presence in state and national nursing groups. In fact, the president of the Alabama Board of Nursing is a UAB nurse.

How long are your nurses' shifts?
Nurses at UAB typically work a 12-hour shift rotation, completing three shifts in a week.

Are nurses available 24-hours-a-day to answer my questions?
UAB nurses are always available to answer any question that you or a family member have.

What if I want to call the nurse of my hospitalized family member?
Every patient admitted to UAB is given instructions on how to contact their nurse or the nurses' station.

How do UAB doctors and nurses interact?
UAB doctors and nurses have a collaborative and professional working environment and all work toward the same goal – quality patient care. We are all held to a high level of care and professionalism, as outlined in UAB's core values.

What are you doing to keep me safe during my stay?
UAB Hospital is committed to fulfilling the national patient safety goals set annually by the Joint Commission, an influential nonprofit agency that accredits health care organizations. These goals include such things as improved compliance with hand-washing guidelines, patient fall-prevention strategies, and medication safety measures:

  • Infection Prevention
  • Preventing Medication Errors
  • Preventing Injury
  • Promoting a Culture of Safety

Infection Prevention
Our Infection Prevention and Control program works to make patient care as safe as possible for patients, visitors, and staff. Hand washing or using a disinfecting hand rub between patients is very important. We watch to see that this is being done and keep track of our use of soaps and rubs through the Partners In Your Care program. Covering a cough or sneeze is also important. We teach this and provide masks and tissues to get it done.

We work with the surgical care teams to see that all the best practices are followed in getting patients ready for surgery, taking care of them in the operating rooms, and helping them recover afterwards. We are part of the national Surgical Care Improvement Project. We have participated in the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network for several decades.

We are actively involved with the critical care teams to see that mechanical ventilation and other services needed during intensive care are provided with the least risk of infection.

We carefully check the health of our staff to ensure that they are not at work when they are ill with serious infections and are protected against diseases such as hepatitis and influenza.

By Preventing Medication Errors
Computerized Provider Order Entry: UAB Hospital has a computerized system for ordering medications. This system decreases the risks of transcription errors and other problems associated with handwritten orders, and it's been painstakingly programmed to prevent drug interactions and dosage errors.

UAB maintains a complete and up-to-date list of patients' medications in their electronic medical records so that any UAB Medicine health-care provider can access the list when needed. This reduces the likelihood that a patient, who may not remember to tell a provider about all their medicines, would be inadvertently prescribed drugs that may react poorly together.

By Preventing Injury
UAB has an active Falls team whose purpose is to determine ways to reduce falls and their severity at UAB Hospital. This is achieved by reviewing data, reviewing an revising standards of care, leading unit process improvement initiatives, and evaluating new fall prevention tools

By Promoting a Culture of Safety
Error Reporting: A hospital-wide electronic reporting system helps reduce human errors by alerting providers to possible safety concerns related to a patient's care. The provider can then re-evaluate the patient or intervene on the patient's treatment protocol, which in some cases could prevent a medical error.

Computerized medical record system– to give providers at-the-bedside electronic access to information about a patient's condition, medications and treatment plan.

As a member of the University Healthcare Consortium, UAB is one of about 100 academic medical centers in the nation reporting statistics related to patient care. As a result, the medical center is able to quickly target areas or processes that could be improved to ensure all patients receive the best possible care and experience at every visit.

Rapid Response Team: A Medical Emergency Team (MET), consisting of two specially trained nurses and a doctor, is prepared to provide a rapid response at a moment's notice, bringing expertise and assistance to nurses when their patients experience a sudden change in condition or a life-threatening situation. The MET provides support to patient and non-patient care areas 24/7 with physician and nursing support.

How do you keep my family member safe when I'm not there?
Patients at UAB receive around the clock monitoring and care. The Medical Emergency Team (MET) brings critical care to the bedside in the event an urgent, life-threatening situation arises in a non-critical care area of the hospital. The team consists of a physician and two registered nurses specially trained in providing urgent critical care to patients in need. The team can initiate resuscitation efforts and stabilize the situation with the goal of preventing a patient from developing full cardiac arrest. The MET will respond to standard hospital units if monitored vital signs or a nurse's observation indicates an acute change in a patient's condition.

UAB Medicine is a URAC accredited credentials verification organization (CVO). A CVO is an organization that gathers data and verifies the credentials of doctors and other health care practitioners. URAC's CVO Accreditation ensures a meaningful, rigorous, and fair credentialing process that protects both patients and providers from poor credentialing practices. Credentialing is a critical function that allows health care organizations to properly identify qualified health care practitioners for participation in their networks.

View the URAC Certificate (PDF)

Provider Ratings & Reviews FAQ

UAB Medicine has launched a physician Ratings & Reviews system, similar to what you find on Amazon.com and many other websites, which features star ratings and comments from patients about their office visit experiences. These ratings and reviews are included alongside individual physician profiles on the UAB Medicine physician directory, located at uabmedicine.org under the “Find a Provider” section. Below are some questions and answers to help you better understand the Ratings & Reviews system, the motivations behind it, how the star ratings are calculated, and why this information is not published for every UAB Medicine doctor.

Why are we publishing Ratings & Reviews?
In today’s environment of online ratings and reviews, we feel it is important to offer patients and potential patients an alternative to third-party physician ratings websites, which often contain inaccurate and/or outdated information. Publishing star ratings for physicians and relevant patient comments empowers consumers to make more educated decisions in choosing health care services while reinforcing UAB Medicine’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and quality.

How is the data gathered?
The data supporting the star ratings is generated from surveys sent to UAB Medicine patients following outpatient office visits. Designed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), these surveys are known as Medical Practice CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) surveys. They gather quantitative and qualitative data regarding patients’ experiences with their physicians and the overall visit and allow patients to submit comments (anonymously) in their own words. The surveys are sent to patients from UAB Medicine vendor Press Ganey, a national health care consulting, research, and advisory firm, which also compiles the data gathered from the surveys on behalf of UAB Medicine.

Why are we using Medical Practice CAHPS data?
Medical Practice CAHPS data is widely accepted in the health care industry as being reliable, consistent, and based on sufficient sample sizes. Unlike some commercial sources of health care quality data, Medical Practice CAHPS surveys do not vary from one provider or facility to another, so the resulting data is standardized and allows consumers to make more accurate comparisons among providers. As the health care industry moves toward greater transparency, we expect that additional data from CMS surveys will be shared with the public, including information concerning patient experiences with their inpatient hospital stays. In addition, CMS has said that it ultimately would like to share physician data on its physiciancompare.gov website.

Who receives the surveys?
The vast majority of patients will receive a survey following each outpatient office visit, through physical mail or email. If you are seen by more than one physician in the same day during your visit to an outpatient facility such as The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, for example, you will receive a survey for each provider visited.

How many patients respond to the surveys?
An average of 3,000 surveys are completed each month.

How is the star rating calculated?
Star ratings are calculated from the “top box” score on the survey’s “Rate Your Provider on a Scale from 0-10” question. The top box score reflects how often the provider received a 9 or 10 from patients on that particular survey question. For example, if a physician received 100 completed surveys, and 90 patients rated the provider with a 9 or 10, the top box score would be 90. The star rating is then calculated by dividing the top box score by 20, to account for the five-star system, so a 90 top box score yields a 4.5-star rating.

Why aren’t Ratings & Reviews posted for every physician?
Ratings & Reviews are only displayed for physicians who see patients in an outpatient clinic and who have received at least 30 completed surveys during the previous 12-month period. This requirement helps ensure a more accurate assessment of the physician by drawing upon a range of patient responses.

Are all comments posted?
Prior to being posted on the physician directory, comments from patients are reviewed and edited to remove private health information as well as language deemed libelous, derogatory, or not directly related to the patient experience or the physician for whom the survey was submitted. Patient comments will be removed after appearing for 12 months.

How can patients complete a survey or post a comment about a physician?
Surveys cannot be completed at will; they are only sent to patients post-office visit. This helps ensure quality data by limiting the feedback to validated patients who have had recent, direct contact with a particular provider – in contrast to physician ratings websites that allow people to post comments about providers they’ve never seen or haven’t seen recently. The vast majority of patients will receive a survey, but patients may increase their odds of receiving a survey if they confirm that their mailing and email addresses on file with UAB Medicine are current.

How is patient information protected?
Results from surveys submitted electronically are password-protected and stored on a secure server. Completed paper surveys are stored securely. Patient names – along with any private health information – are removed from all surveys before they are provided to the UAB Medicine personnel responsible for reviewing patient comments and posting them to the physician directory, where they are published anonymously. Patients are notified when the surveys are sent out that their comments may be posted anonymously.