Quality is an obsession in healthcare. For good reason. Not all doctors and hospitals are alike. But how can you tell which is best? Every medical center has a different mix of patients and capabilities. Fortunately, some professional associations have developed ingenious methods for evaluating hospitals on a level playing field. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, for instance, created a widely admired rating system that takes into account not only risk-adjusted patient outcomes, but other sophisticated measures to grade medical centers on the quality of their cardiac surgery procedures and techniques.
Cleveland Clinic was proud to receive the Society’s highest ranking — three stars — for its coronary artery bypass cardiac surgery program in 2011. Now, the STS has gone further, and awarded Cleveland Clinic its three-star ranking specifically for aortic valve replacement. Over the years, only 10-15 percent of the nation’s cardiac surgery programs qualify for a three-star rating.
These accomplishments did not occur by accident, but through hard, focused work. I believe we should be very happy with what we achieved together.
Cleveland Clinic’s heart program is already ranked number one in America, and the nation’s “best” (U.S. News & World Report, Readers’ Digest), but it is obviously gratifying for our team to have the quality of their work in coronary artery bypass and aortic valve repair validated by STS’s rigorous system. It is not the ranking that matters, but that we provide the best care we can for our patients.