Medical Center neurosurgery team receives high ranking from University HealthSystem Consortium in mortality

November 2, 2009

The University of Chicago's neurosurgery service risk adjusted mortality rate was ranked second among 105 academic medical centers, behind only one other academic medical center, in the University HealthSystem Consortium’s (UHC) Clinical Outcomes Report for July 2008 through June 2009.

The UHC report focuses on observed-versus-expected mortality. The data show that during this period significantly fewer patients died after undergoing neurosurgical procedures at the Medical Center than the UHC statistical models predict based on the severity of the patients.

During this time, UCMC neurosurgeons performed 429 procedures that were placed into UHC’s product line of Neurosurgery. The UHC models are based on a number of patient factors, including age, race and payer status as well as the nature and severity of their disease, number and type of co-morbid conditions and their admission status. The models predicted that 18 of those 429 patients would not survive to hospital discharge. Instead, only seven of the 429 succumbed to their illness while in the hospital. This gave the Medical Center an observed-versus-expected mortality rate of 0.37 for the past year, about one-third the predicted rate of 1.0.

The University of Chicago’s neurosurgery's observed-versus-expected mortality rates have been consistently better than average, according to UHC data, since the final quarter of 2007.

"Our feeling has always been that the neurosurgical care at the Medical Center is amongst the best in the country and it's gratifying to see that the data confirm that," said David Frim, MD, PhD, Ralph Cannon Professor and chief of neurosurgery at the University of Chicago. "This excellence in patient care reflects on the singular training and commitment of the entire neurosurgery section as well as the operating room and neuro-critical care faculty and nurses."

The neurosurgery program has a long legacy of excellence in the treatment of brain tumors, brain aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations, pediatric and congenital nervous system disease, and functional nervous system problems such as epilepsy and movement disorders.

The University HealthSystem Consortium, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, is an alliance of 104 academic medical centers and 220 of their affiliated hospitals representing approximately 90 percent of the nation's non-profit academic medical centers. It collects and shares comparative data on clinical outcomes as well as operational, financial and patient safety best practices. UHC's benchmarking studies are used to detect trends, draw attention to quality outliers, and identify top performers.

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John Easton
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