Quality Care

Sutter Health doctors and hospitals work as one team with a shared commitment to provide exceptional, compassionate, personalized care to our patients. We continually implement programs and practices to help our patients improve their overall health and better manage chronic conditions that affect their quality of life. Our patient-centered approach has helped us reduce rates of infection, lower overall costs of care and keep more people well and out of the hospital. Industry groups consistently rank Sutter Health network doctor groups, hospitals and other caregivers among California’s top performers in providing high-quality care.

New standards target deadly sepsis

As part of Sutter Health’s longstanding commitment to quality medical care, we developed rigorous new standards in 2014 to more rapidly identify and treat sepsis, a blood infection that ranks as the No. 1 cause of death among hospitalized patients nationwide. In August, we tested the standards at our Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and in December refined them further at our Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame and Novato Community Hospital. The standards work in tandem with our 24-hour electronic intensive care unit program to help spot sepsis, reduce the length of hospital stays for patients with sepsis and save lives. By the end of 2015, patients across our network will benefit as we implement the standards at all of our 24 hospitals.

Registered nurse Bob Auen talking with colleagues
Nurses working at a nurses station

Registered nurse Bob Auen, left, confers with colleagues during a sepsis-alert drill in the intensive care unit of Eden Medical Center. Nurses, doctors and other caregivers across Sutter Health have received specialized training in how to quickly recognize the signs of sepsis and take fast action to save lives.

More seriously ill patients receive home care

We expanded our nationally recognized Advanced Illness Management (AIM) program to three more counties—Yuba, Sutter and Santa Clara—for a total of 17 counties served across Northern California in 2014. AIM provides highly personalized, home-based medical care and emotional support to patients with advanced chronic illness so they can feel empowered to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. In 2014, our interdisciplinary AIM teams supported 4,246 patients and made more than 71,600 home visits. Over a 90-day period, the program helped reduce unnecessary hospitalizations by 59 percent, saving government payers and commercial health plans an estimated $20 million in reimbursement costs.

Simple tools encourage self-monitoring

In 2014, we introduced educational tools that help patients with chronic conditions improve their quality of life by better managing their health at home. Clinical experts across Sutter Health partnered with patients to develop 22 plainly written handouts—17 on common conditions and five on commonly prescribed medications. Available in English and 10 other languages, the handouts use the familiar image and colors of a stoplight to make medical information easier for people to understand. Patients with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other chronic conditions can use the information to monitor their symptoms and avoid frequent, costly trips to hospital emergency departments. The green, yellow and red colors of the “stoplight tools” help patients quickly assess the seriousness of their symptoms and decide what actions they should take to stay well.

Safety lifts help reduce injuries

Reinforcing our ongoing efforts to keep our employees and patients safe, Sutter Health has invested more than $23 million in overhead patient lifts in our hospitals over the past few years. By the end of 2014, we had installed lifts in 19 of our hospital campuses across Northern California. The lifts make repositioning and moving patients easier and safer for patients and caregivers alike. Our hospitals with lifts report that employee injuries from lifting and repositioning patients have decreased by more than 50 percent on average since 2011. Our investment has allowed us to install approximately 900 lifts, with 500 more planned.

Joint care center committed to quality

Bay Area patients needing hip or knee replacements can receive quality care at our new Advanced Joint Care and Replacement Center, which opened in July 2014 at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame. Board-certified surgeons at the center combine advanced technologies, such as computer-aided navigation, with time-tested approaches. The center also reports to the independent California Joint Replacement Registry, which tracks joint implant quality and safety, treatment outcomes and patients’ care and recovery experiences. By participating in this registry, we can continually improve and advance the quality of the joint care we provide patients for generations to come.

Excellence honored in 2014

National and state health care organizations honored our hospitals, affiliated or aligned physicians and other network services for their excellence in medical care, safety, patient experience and other key measures. Here’s a sampling of our many 2014 awards and recognitions:

Truven Health Analytics

The national health care industry analyst recognized:

  • Our Sacramento Sierra Region among 15 top health systems in the nation, based on eight measures of quality, patient perception of care and efficiency
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, and Sutter Davis Hospital among the top 100 hospitals nationwide, for quality and efficiency in patient care
California Association of Physician Groups: Standards of Excellence Survey

Six Sutter Medical Network physician organizations earned the annual survey’s highest ranking in measures such as patient experience and affordability:

  • Brown & Toland Physicians
  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  • Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation
  • Sutter Gould Medical Foudnation
  • Sutter Medical Foundation
  • Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation
Integrated Healthcare Association

The industry group recognized seven Sutter-affiliated physician organizations for medical care quality and improvement:

Quality 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

  • Brown & Toland, Alta Bates Medical Group
U.S. News & World Report: Best Hospitals in Nation

The survey ranked eight Sutter Health hospital campuses “high performing” for specialty care in the country:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Berkeley
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland
  • California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco
  • Eden Medical Center, Castro Valley
  • Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Burlingame
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center, Antioch
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center
American Heart Association, American Stroke Association

The organizations’ hospital-based quality improvement program recognized five Sutter hospitals for their rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
  • California Pacific Medical Center
  • Eden Medical Center
  • Mills-Peninsula Health Services
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
The Leapfrog Group: 2014 Top Hospitals

The national employer organization named five Sutter hospital campuses to its Top Hospitals list, based on excellence in safety and quality:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Berkeley campus
  • California Pacific Medical Center, Pacific, California and St. Luke’s campuses
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz
The Leapfrog Group: 2014 Hospital Safety Survey

The national employer organization survey gave 14 Sutter hospital campuses a top “A” rating for patient safety:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Berkeley campus
  • California Pacific Medical Center, California, Pacific, Davies and St. Luke’s campuses
  • Eden Medical Center
  • Novato Community Hospital
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
  • Sutter Davis Hospital
  • Sutter General Hospital
  • Sutter Memorial Hospital
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital
Joint Commission: Top Performer

The national accrediting agency honored 13 Sutter hospitals in Northern California and Hawaii:

  • Eden Medical Center
  • Kahi Mohala Behavioral Health
  • Mills-Peninsula Health Services
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Memorial Medical Center, Modesto
  • Novato Community Hosptial
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
  • Sutter Coast Hospital
  • Sutter Davis Hospital
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital
HomeCare Elite: 2013 Top Agency

Eight 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.

Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients

We earned higher-than-expected one- and three-year adult patient survival rates in our kidney and liver transplant programs at Sutter-affiliated California Pacific Medical Center, the only hospital nationwide to do so in 2014.