2012 Annual Report

Quality Achievements


New center helps patients with brain disorders

Patients with memory loss, early dementia or Alzheimer's disease and their families receive personalized, expert care and support at California Pacific Medical Center's new Brain Health Center. In a partnership with the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California, the center opened in September 2012 to provide the most advanced medical treatments, technologies and research in the field of brain health. A $21 million endowment from an anonymous donor—the largest commitment in the history of the medical center and of Sutter Health—made the center possible.

Cardiac care quality merits rare certification

In February 2012, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, became the second cardiac care center in the nation and the first in the state to receive full atrial fibrillation certification from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. The certification recognizes the medical center's range and quality of services—from traditional surgeries to less invasive procedures—for patients with heartbeat irregularities. The hospital demonstrated its commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding stringent criteria and undergoing a comprehensive review.

Sutter hospitals reduce infection rates

Sutter Health medical teams continued adopting safety standards to more quickly identify and treat certain hospital-acquired infections—central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and sepsis. As a result, our health providers have saved more than 3,000 lives and reduced costs by approximately $98 million since 2008.

Measures promote well-being of moms, babies

Across our network of care, Sutter Health continued to advocate for the safety of mothers and babies during labor and delivery. For first-time mothers, we reduced the overall rate of episiotomy—a once-routine surgical procedure to prevent vaginal injury, no longer considered effective—from 33 percent to 8 percent. We also actively urged expectant moms to hold off on elective deliveries before 39 weeks to help prevent medical problems for their babies. As a result, the rate of these early elective deliveries dropped from 18 percent to 2 percent, a nearly 90 percent decline, from October 2010 to the end of 2012.

“Baby-Friendly” honors go to care centers

Two of our affiliates—Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, and Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz—were honored as “Baby-Friendly Hospitals.” The designation came from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as part of a global initiative. The “Baby-Friendly” recognition spotlights hospitals and birthing centers that offer mothers and babies an exceptional level of care and support, including encouraging breast-feeding.

Electronic health record aids continuity of care

Sutter Health continued its accelerated installation of an electronic health record (EHR) system to serve patients. By 2012, our EHR system had connected seven hospitals and all five medical foundations and supported thousands of Sutter caregivers. The system gives clinicians real-time, shared access to integrated patient medical information—lab tests, drug allergies, diagnoses and treatments—which helps improve the continuity, safety and quality of patient care.

Ceiling lifts promote safety for patients and staff

To help make care safer for critically ill patients and employees, Sutter Health installed 210 overhead patient lifts in 10 hospitals across our network. The lifts, installed in intensive and critical care units and acute rehabilitation rooms, make repositioning and moving patients safer and less physically taxing for patients and caregivers. Lifts also enhance the quality of care by reducing the potential for patients to develop painful skin ulcers or to fall while being moved.