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Home > About > Quality & Safety > Mortality

Mortality

We measure mortality two ways.

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

About 30,000 patients are admitted each year and about 2 percent of them die while in University 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 understand the cause and identify opportunities to prevent deaths in the future.

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

 UVA Health System Mortality All Patients

A lower number is better.

 

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

This type of ratio compares the number of patients who die 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 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.

The first graph below shows the mortality index for all patients at University Hospital. The second shows the mortality index for adult general medicine patients in the hospital.

UVA Health System Mortality Index All Patients 

Observed mortality = Recorded number of inpatient deaths at University 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.

A lower number is better.

UVA Health System Mortality Index Adult General Medicine Patients

Observed mortality = Recorded number of adult general medicine patient deaths at University 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.

A lower number is better.

How We Measure Up

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