The goal of MUSC Health Quality & Safety is to provide evidence-based care with zero harm for every patient, every day. Here are a number of quality and safety measures we use to gauge how well we are performing.
Hand washing prevents the spread of disease.
Infections that occur through lines inserted into a vein to deliver medicines and fluids
Infections that occur in patients who have a Foley catheter inserted into their bladder to drain urine
A type of lung infection that occurs in patients who are on a ventilator breathing machine
Infections caused by a strain of staph bacteria that has become resistant to the antibiotic commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections
Surgical incisions expose the body to possible infection.
These indicators measure potential in-hospital complications and adverse events following surgeries, procedures, and childbirth.
A measure of the number of patients who die from their serious illness or injury while being hospitalized compared to the number of patients that were expected to die
Our goal is to provide you with the information that you and your family need to feel comfortable as partners and decision-makers in your health care, whether you are with us for outpatient services or inpatient care. We call that approach "Patient-and Family-Centered Care." In addition to the many resources provided at the MUSC Health Medical Center and on the MUSC Health website, we are providing data and information on a range of issues in three categories:
And we want to be completely transparent. You can review the data here and determine how it affects you. Since scientific data can be difficult to interpret, we have provided additional explanations where necessary.
Because we care about your safety, we have set the bar very high for ourselves. We are never satisfied, even when we are among the best in the country. MUSC Health leaders use a continuous improvement process based on Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing principles called IMPROVE. The acronym stands for:
A team of physicians, nurses and other support staff work together to determine the root cause of problems, find solutions and monitor performance to be sure the proposed solutions are working.
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MUSC Health measures its “Culture of Safety” every year by a standardized safety survey. The survey measures many different “domains” of what our employees think about how important safety is within the MUSC Health Medical Center, MUSC Children's Hospital and clinics. Results show that MUSC Health performs better than other “like” hospitals – those that are large hospitals with more than 500 inpatient beds.
MUSC is a tertiary / quaternary hospital. This means physicians from all over the state and beyond are referring their patients to MUSC for the most complex surgeries, specialized services not available elsewhere, and treatment for the sickest of patients.
The MUSC Medical Center has 709 inpatient beds, which are almost all in use at any time. That means some new patients may temporarily "board" in the emergency department (ED) or wait in community hospitals until a bed in the right unit becomes available. A new unit called the Express Admission Unit has been set up for patients admitted from the ED who are waiting for a bed to be available on the appropriate unit. Patients can enjoy a more relaxed environment, away from the busy emergency department – and patients needing emergency care can be seen faster. The Medical Center also has a protocol called the Emergency Patient Placement Protocol that is an emergency plan to create temporary bed space when the patient population in the Emergency Department and in the Operating Rooms reaches a critical level.
Outpatient Initiatives: Average number of days until next available appointment
In an effort to improve our communication with patients and referring physicians about access to MUSC Health providers and care teams, we are now providing the average amount of days it takes to schedule a new patient appointment with each of our physicians. We are using the measure of the “third available appointment” which is the health care industry standard to use, as it gives a more accurate picture of the likely number of days until a new patient appointment timeslot is available and takes into account cancellations and other variables. Appointment information is updated nightly and reflects actual provider schedules so it will vary based on cancellations, locations where the provider sees patients, vacations, and other changes in schedules.
MUSC carefully monitors how many patients are in the hospital, ED and operating rooms, to match the patient care needs with their location and to efficiently move patients "through the system" to free up beds for those waiting. If a patient needs to stay more days to treat their illness or recover from surgery, they will not be rushed. On the other hand, when a patient is safely ready to be discharged, every attempt is made to do that quickly and efficiently. It is our goal to complete discharge orders by 10:00 a.m. on patients ready for discharge, to have patients on their way back to their families or hometowns within three hours of the discharge order.
Here’s how a typical discharge works for both efficiency and patient safety. Pharmacists prepare medications in advance. Social workers and case managers start discharge planning early and make follow-up appointments in advance. A team of discharge nurses calls patients within 72 hours after their discharge to check on their status, assure that patients are taking their medications, following their post-stay procedures and getting to their follow-up appointments.
While quality and safety are top priorities, let’s face it, the cost of health care is a big consideration.
MUSC has been reporting cost data to the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for years. Now we’re taking steps to make financial information available to patients and their families.
You have a right to know what things cost. But that is easier said than done. Hospitals have what they call a Master Charge List. It’s kind of like the rack rate you see on the back of hotel doors. That’s the most the hotel – or a hospital – will charge. The reality is that hospitals are paid what the insurance company has negotiated and will allow. That differs for Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, private insurance companies (such as Humana or Cigna) or other "payers," as they are called. That can also differ from hospital to hospital, based on a number of factors including such things as the quality outcomes of the hospital, the percentage of patients who have no means to pay, specialized services that are not offered everywhere, and so on.
What you as a patient have to pay also differs based on the terms of your insurance contract. Each plan has a different deductible, different co-pay and different stop loss (the most you have to pay out of pocket).
Ultimately, the amount you pay for any procedure or hospital stay is between you and your insurance company. However, MUSC does want to help make the potential cost for our services clearer to you.
MUSC Health has signed on with other hospitals who are members of the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) to provide as close to an apples-to-apples comparison of cost for many common procedures.
After studying the best practices hospitals across the country use to provide meaningful data to patients and families, SCHA has decided to implement a program called Price Point.
SCHA worked with the Wisconsin Hospital Association to build and maintain the SC Website, using Price Point.
South Carolina will study and move forward with a number of enhancements. These might include:
MUSC Health is fully supportive of the South Carolina Hospital Association method, because it will provide standardized data that will be helpful as part of the decision process to patients, providers and others interested in managing the costs of health care.
Nowadays, insurance plans often limit the doctors and hospitals you can use. For instance, only five of the many Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans cover costs at MUSC hospitals. Here’s a comprehensive list of the insurance plans that include MUSC Health in the network. It changes from time-to-time. And there may be exceptions for certain treatments or procedures. Check with your insurance carrier to be sure MUSC Health is in network. If it's not, ask your employer or insurance company to offer it next year.
Take the time to inform yourself and choose the insurance plan that's right for your family. Whether you are choosing among plans offered by your employer or purchasing individual plans from private companies or the insurance exchanges, you owe it to yourself and your family to learn everything you can.
What you will be missing if MUSC Health is not in the network you choose: