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Frequently Asked Questions

What are outcomes?

In simplest terms, an outcome is the result of a particular medical treatment or surgery.

Hospitals traditionally report on key outcomes like low mortality rates, surgical infections, hospital readmissions, and length of stay. But patients having major medical procedures — such as open-heart surgery, a total joint replacement, or pediatric interventions — also want more detailed outcomes for their specific conditions.  

UPMC has been on the journey of evaluating quality performance for decades. We have designed clinical measures that allow us to be successful in the breadth of services that we offer so that our patients and their families can see that we are meeting or exceeding national benchmarks.

Why are outcomes important to me?

Quality outcomes allow you to evaluate how well UPMC performs in key areas compared with other hospitals. Those same outcomes also encourage us to continually improve the quality of our care through innovation, the introduction of best practices, and ongoing professional education and training.

How can outcomes help me with my health care decisions?

By providing you access to UPMC’s quality outcomes, our goal is to empower you to make confident and well-informed decisions about important health care considerations like surgeries and hospital care.

Where can I find UPMC’s basic quality measures?

At UPMC, we measure quality in many ways, including patient satisfaction scores, continuous clinical performance monitoring, medical outcomes, and ongoing research.

While no single measurement can provide a complete look at any hospital’s quality, there are a variety of resources that let you compare UPMC’s performance with those of other hospitals.

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare offers comprehensive quality information compiled in collaboration with other government agencies, and consumer and medical organizations.
  • The Pennsylvania Healthcare Quality Alliance provides quality data within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 
  • The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council offers annual performance reports on Pennsylvania hospitals.

You can also find valuable quality information on the websites of UPMC and the UPMC Health Plan.

Other respected sources of information include The Joint Commission’s Top Performer on Key Quality Measures program and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), used by many health plans to measure quality and performance.

What questions should I ask my doctor about quality outcomes?

Your doctor can help you identify the best sources for quality data for your specific condition.  Most of all, you should always feel comfortable asking about your physician’s own expertise and outcomes, such the number of procedures done, percentage of negative outcomes, and how those numbers compare to national averages.

UPMC’s Find a Doctor service provides details on our physicians’ educational backgrounds, board certifications, hospital affiliations, specialties, and board certifications as well as the types of insurances accepted.

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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