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Home > About > Quality & Safety > Mortality


We measure mortality two ways.

First, we track the total number of patients who are admitted to and die at UVA Hospital.

About 30,000 patients are admitted each year and about 3 percent of them die while in UVA Hospital.

Our providers and staff, including executive leadership, use real-time, root cause problem-solving each time a death occurs. This means we immediately and extensively review each death to uncover the cause and better understand how to prevent deaths in the future.

We believe it is important to review each case this way because it personalizes every death.


Mortality = The number of patients who die at UVA Hospital.

Measured on an annual (one-year) basis. Data as of Dec. 31, 2015.


The second way we measure mortality is as a risk-adjusted mortality ratio, provided by the University HealthSystem Consortium Database, which tracks mortality at hundreds of academic medical centers and affiliated hospitals, including UVA Hospital.

This ratio compares the number of patients who die at a hospital with the number of patients who were expected to die because they were so severely ill.

It is computed by dividing the actual number of deaths by the number of expected deaths.

A lower score is better. A score lower than 1.0 means fewer patients died than expected, while a score greater than 1.0 means more patients died than expected.

One of our most important efforts is working to identify risk factors for and provide rapid, effective treatment for patients with life-threatening infections, such as sepsis.


Risk-Adjusted Mortality Ratio = Observed mortality compared to expected mortality

Observed mortality = Recorded number of inpatient deaths at UVA Hospital during a specific period

Expected mortality = Predicted number of deaths in a hospital based on the patients’ levels of illness. Patients who are very sick have a higher expected mortality rate.

Measured on an annual (one-year) basis. Data as of Dec. 31, 2015.

About the source data: University HealthSystem Consortium is an alliance of 117 academic medical centers and 328 of their affiliated hospitals, representing the nation’s leading academic medical centers.

How We Measure Up

The resources below compare quality indicators at different hospitals across the country.