Quality Care

At Sutter Health, we partner with our patients to provide high-value medical care that’s compassionate and personalized to their unique needs and preferences. Through our commitment to quality and service, our patients can receive the care they deserve, which can lead to better treatment results and a better quality of life.

Safety efforts reap benefits for babies

Sutter Health’s dedication to promoting safer birth experiences for moms and their babies continued in 2013. Our rate of elective deliveries of babies before 39 weeks of pregnancy—whether through induced labor or Cesarean section—dropped to approximately 1 percent across our network. Research shows that many of a child’s vital organs, including the brain and lungs, continue developing during the final weeks of pregnancy. At Sutter Health, we partner with women to avoid unnecessary early deliveries. If labor begins on its own, babies may stand a better chance of entering the world strong and avoiding serious medical problems in their first year of life.

A father welcomes his newborn at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Program targets childbirth-related injuries

In 2013, we sharpened our focus on protecting the well-being of women and babies during childbirth with the launch of our systemwide Perinatal Patient Safety Program. Seeking to eliminate preventable delivery-related injuries in all Sutter Health hospitals, nearly 1,700 obstetrics nurses, obstetricians and anesthesiologists participated in advanced simulation trainings through Sutter-affiliated Samuel Merritt University. The training armed participants with new communications and clinical tools that can enhance teamwork and improve care of mothers with complex medical conditions.

Presidential honor rewards hospital excellence

In November 2013, Sutter Davis Hospital became the first organization in the Sacramento Valley and the first Northern California hospital to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. The milestone award recognized our hospital’s focused, collaborative work over 10 years to advance quality care. Fewer than 100 companies in the United States have received the award since it began in 1987. Sutter Davis Hospital is one of only 18 health care organizations honored.

“Our patients say they feel like they’re being cared for by family.”

Janet Wagner, CEO
Sutter Davis Hospital

Report lauds doctors for preventive care

Doctors across our network continued to collaborate to offer patients the highest quality medical care possible. In 2013, a report by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services underscored their success in providing preventive care for common acute and chronic conditions. Comparing medical groups nationwide, the report found that patients served by our five Sutter physician medical foundations are hospitalized less often for bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections, dehydration, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and heart failure. The report also found that our physicians do a better job than comparable groups at keeping costs down while keeping patients well and out of the hospital.

Registered nurse Aileen Capuyan monitors AIM patient Richard Teachout, who lives comfortably at home since his lymphoma diagnosis.

Expansion brings home care to more patients

In 2013, Sutter Health’s Advanced Illness Management (AIM) program expanded its services from five to 14 counties across Northern California, providing comprehensive care and coordinated support to more than 1,500 chronically ill patients. The program’s multidisciplinary, home-based approach provides clinical and emotional support to patients to help improve their quality of life. In 2013, AIM reduced hospitalizations over a 90-day period by 63 percent—and saved government payers and commercial health plans an estimated $15 million in reimbursement.

Infection rates decline significantly

Our Sutter Health medical teams remained vigilant in 2013 in their efforts to reduce serious hospital-acquired infections and save lives. From 2007 through 2013, Sutter Health rates of central line blood infections, one of the leading causes of hospital deaths, declined by 82 percent—far ahead of the national average. During this period, our efforts saved 123 lives and prevented 770 infection cases. The sepsis mortality rate at Sutter Health also has improved by 32.6 percent since 2008, with an estimated 4,247 lives saved. Improved safety standards help caregivers more quickly identify and treat infections before they become serious. As a result, Sutter Health reduced care costs by approximately $120.2 million for central line infections and sepsis from 2007 through 2013.

Telemonitoring program hits milestone

In 2013, we marked the 10th anniversary of our electronic intensive care unit (eICU) program—the first on the West Coast. Using advanced communications technologies, our eICU ensures comprehensive, 24-hour medical support of our sickest hospitalized patients—no matter where they are in our network. From two central hubs, in Sacramento and San Francisco, physicians and nurses specialized in the care of critically ill patients can monitor patients in intensive care units hundreds of miles away, using live two-way interactive video, remote diagnostic tools and other specialized technologies to instantly assess critical changes in a patient’s condition. Our eICU doctors and nurses supplement the expertise of intensive care clinicians at 18 Sutter Health hospitals (23 campuses total) and three hospitals outside the Sutter Health network in Northern California

Quality honors abound in 2013

National and state health care organizations recognized Sutter Health network hospitals and affiliated or aligned physician organizations throughout the year for our excellence in medical care, safety, patient experience and other key measures. Here’s a sampling of our many 2013 awards and recognitions.

Truven Health Analytics

The national health care industry analyst recognized Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, and Sutter Davis Hospital among the 100 Top Hospitals nationwide for quality and efficiency in patient care.

California Association of Physician Groups: Standards of Excellence Survey

The annual survey gave six Sutter Medical Network physician organizations top honors in measures such as patient experience and affordability:

Elite (highest ranking)

  • Brown & Toland Physicians
  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  • Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation
  • Sutter Medical Foundation

Exemplary

  • Sutter Gould Medical Foundation
  • Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation
Integrated Healthcare Association

The industry group recognized six Sutter-affiliated physician organizations for medical care quality:

Top Performer

  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Mills-Peninsula Division/Mills-Peninsula Medical Group
  • Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation
  • Sutter Gould Medical Foundation
  • Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods
  • Sutter Medical Foundation, Sutter Medical Group

Most Improved, 2011-2012

  • Sutter Gould Medical Foundation
U.S. News & World Report: Best Hospitals in Nation

Sutter-affiliated California Pacific Medical Center ranked 37 out of 440 hospitals reviewed in California. The news magazine also recognized our hospital for high performance in neurology, neurosurgery and orthopedics.

Modern Healthcare: Best Places to Work in Healthcare

The magazine’s annual nationwide honors list included three Sutter Health providers out of five from California:

  • Sutter Center for Psychiatry
  • Sutter Davis Hospital
  • Sutter Medical Foundation
The Leapfrog Group: 2013 Hospital Safety Survey

The national employer organization survey gave 16 Sutter hospital campuses a top “A” rating for care quality and safety:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Alta Bates campus
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Summit campus
  • California Pacific Medical Center, California campus
  • California Pacific Medical Center, Pacific campus
  • California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke’s campus
  • Eden Medical Center
  • Memorial Medical Center
  • Mills-Peninsula Health Services
  • Novato Community Hospital
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
  • Sutter Davis Hospital
  • Sutter General Hospital  
  • Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa
  • Sutter Memorial Hospital   
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital
Joint Commission: Top Performer

The national accrediting agency honored 10 Sutter Health hospitals in Northern California and Hawaii:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Summit campus
  • California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke’s campus
  • Eden Medical Center
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Memorial Medical Center, Modesto
  • Kahi Mohala Behavioral Health
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, Santa Cruz
  • Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center
HomeCare Elite: 2013 Top Agency

Ten Sutter Care at Home-affiliated agencies ranked in the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified home health agencies nationwide, based on quality care, patient experience and other measures.

CHIME: Innovator of the Year

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives award recognized Sutter Care at Home for its innovative use of secure mobile tablets, allowing 1,000 home-care clinicians to quickly access patient information and provide timely, personalized care.

Center for Plain Language: ClearMark Award of Distinction

The national award recognized Sutter Center for Integrated Care for redesigning a handout given to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to help them better manage their condition at home. The award recognized our center for making patient information clearer and easier to understand.

Consistent care benefits patients

More than 700 doctors across our network continued working together to standardize treatment and testing options so patients can receive the best, most consistent care wherever they go within Sutter Health. Medical teams looked at more than 250 clinical areas, including appropriate use of skin testing, treatments for hypertension, use of imaging in evaluating abdominal pain and evaluation of postmenopausal bleeding. Their efforts helped us reduce our overall costs while maintaining or improving care quality for more than 100,000 patients.