Quality & Service

At OHSU, we believe in constantly improving both the quality of care we provide and the service we offer. One of the ways we do that is by measuring ourselves, so we can find out how we're doing compared to other, similar institutions.

What do we mean by quality?

"Quality" in patient care means something very specific: it refers to clinical outcomes. So when we talk about improving quality at OHSU, what we're really talking about are the things we do that make a medical difference in the lives of our patients. That can range from the new cures that you can find only at OHSU, to making continuous improvements in procedures and processes so we can always be as safe as possible.

What do we mean by service?

"Service" in hospitals means something different from quality: it's about all the little things we do to make your experience with us a good one. That can range from how we communicate with you, to how quickly we respond to your concerns, to the kinds of amenities you find in your room.

Performance improvement

OHSU believes in transparency and public reporting of performance data. The challenge for many organizations doing public reporting is to gather data that is recent, complete and non-biased. It also is a challenge to report data in a way that is easy to understand and reflects actual performance.

OHSU has begun a discussion with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) to promote standards to protect the integrity of publicly reported data and the public's trust in this data. We believe that publicly reported data should be:

  • Relatively recent to reflect active performance improvement under way in health care organizations. Presenting data that is several years old is unfair.
  • Complete. Too often, publicly reported data is pulled from incomplete data sources that may not accurately reflect a hospital’s performance. The data may be biased in a number of ways.
  • Risk-adjusted to reflect the complexity of patients. For instance, academic medical centers take care of highly complex, very sick patients. These patients will naturally have more complications than those who are treated at community hospitals. To allow for an apples-to-apples comparison among hospitals, data should be adjusted. Data that is not risk-adjusted provides an inaccurate picture of comparative performance.

OHSU applauds groups such as Consumer Reports that seek to better inform patients about the quality and safety of care. And Consumer Reports does acknowledge some of the limitations of its data. However, the data presented in its latest ranking of July 2012 is not risk-adjusted, which we believe is a problem. Some data also is not as recent as it should be.

OHSU is deeply committed to performance improvement and to working with other health care organizations to improve our collective performance. In early 2010, OHSU Healthcare began multiple performance improvement campaigns. We have seen substantial and sustained improvements in quality and safety. We strive to provide the best possible care. We are fully committed to continual improvement for all we serve and the Oregon community.


There's a lot of information in these pages, and it can sometimes be tricky to interpret. If you have any questions at all, please be sure to .