MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the largest provider of health care in the Washington metropolitan region, cares for everyone who comes through our doors, from national and local leaders to the most vulnerable residents of our city. And in times of crisis, the region turns to MedSTAR Trauma and The Burn Center for the most advanced critical care.
Throughout our 60-year history, we have been committed to continuous improvement through education and research, and our teams also regularly seek external validation of the quality of our care. We participate in exhaustive reviews to earn such designations as a Level I Trauma Center (American College of Surgeons) and a Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center (The Joint Commission), to name just two. We also consistently earn the highest three-star rating for our cardiac surgery program from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, considered the gold standard for evaluating heart surgery patient outcomes.
Quality and Safety Facts
In light of a recent news report that painted a negative picture of conditions at our hospital, we want to make sure our community has the facts about quality at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The report was riddled with inaccuracies and unfounded conclusions, and below are a few important points that demonstrate our commitment to the highest level of quality care and safety for our patients:
- In the past two years, we have made significant progress in our quality and safety goals, reducing such hospital-acquired conditions as CLABSIs, CAUTIs and surgical site infections. Our CLABSI rates, for example, are down 30% since 2015. (CLABSI stands for Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections; CAUTI stands for Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections. These are hospital-acquired infections that are important measures of a hospital’s quality and safety.)
- When the Hospital Center cares for patients with penetrating injuries, our MedSTAR Trauma program performs in the top decile of U.S. trauma centers, according to data from the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program®.
- In the event that there is a circumstance with the potential to impact our patients’ safety, our team addresses the situation at the hospital immediately, following our robust policies and procedures. The recent news article, for example, described a leak in our operating room. When this occurred, it was handled rapidly, the area was cleaned and sterilized, and an outside company certified that the room was safe for patient care.
Our commitment to the highest quality, safest care for our patients is visible in our journey toward High Reliability, launched throughout MedStar Health five years ago. This intensive, transformative initiative involves a significant shift toward:
- Team-based communication at all levels of the hospital;
- The reporting of potential problems, near misses and mistakes for evaluation and correction;
- Supporting all associates who speak up for safety in any situation;
- Continuous measurement and sharing of data; and very importantly,
- Complete transparency. Our culture now includes daily safety huddles, safety moments to open every meeting, weekly Good Catch Awards, and in-depth analyses and correction of identified problems.
We will never waver from our vitally important commitment to providing high-quality, safe care for all of our patients and for the nation’s capital.