How UTSW Measures Outcomes – Patient Mortality

Patient mortality statistics measure the rate of deaths in a hospital or health care facility. Hospitals adjust these rates to allow for valid comparisons to other facilities whose patients may not be as ill or whose cases are not as complex.

Why Is This Important?

Inpatient mortality is an important outcome measure of quality for hospitals because it indicates how well hospitals take care of its sickest patients – those who are at highest risk of death due to their illness, injury, or condition.

Patient mortality is usually shown as a rate – the number of deaths per 100 inpatients. However, one hospital’s rate cannot be compared directly to another without making adjustments to the data, since some hospitals take care of sicker patients or more complicated cases than others. These adjustments are called risk adjustments.

To allow for comparisons, hospitals calculate a mortality ratio using the actual number of deaths divided by the expected mortality (based on all hospitalized patients across the country). A ratio below 1.0 means the hospital’s mortality rate is below the expected rate.   

University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) Mortality Index

University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) Mortality Index
A lower number is better with this measure.
Source: University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC)

What Does This Graph Show?

The graph illustrates the observed mortality/expected mortality ratio for UTSW hospitals, compared to UHC.

We believe this number is too high. UTSW has a performance improvement project under way to reduce mortality from complications of hospitalization.