UHS Quality
UHS Quality

Questions & Answers

What is in this Quality Report?

United Health Services is displaying both clinical results (such as complication rates or number of procedures performed) and patient satisfaction results.

We display two types of data:

  1. Numbers, called "indicators," such as the percentage of patients who had a complication
  2. Descriptions of our progress toward nationally recommended safe practices, such as the proper storage and administration of medications

Indicators that are percentages or ratios: If national data are available for an indicator, we compare our performance to the national average. (Note: The hospital numbers in a particular row are compared to the U.S. average in that row. A percentage in one row cannot be validly compared to a percentage in a different row.)

How were these quality indicators and safe practices selected?

National organizations have endorsed lists of quality indicators and safe practices. We address every hospital item on each endorsed list; we do not select only certain items. All the indicators or safe practices have extensive research to support their use and are defined so that all hospitals can use the same method for calculating the statistics. Reporting methods are "open," which means anyone can see how the results were obtained.

Indicators and safe practices are not perfect, however. We do not agree that all the items we are reporting are valid assessments of important quality issues. Even for such items, however, we use the national definition and report our performance. This full reporting is our assurance to you that we are not selectively reporting only our strengths.

Does this quality report display data about individual physicians?

No. We are publishing hospital data only.

Is this information available for hospitals that are not part of United Health Services?

The list of the clinical and patient satisfaction information displayed here is not currently publicized by all hospitals. Data for several of these indicators can be found at Hospital Compare. United Health Services also voluntarily posts the limited data requested on that site, but the information we're displaying in this report is more up-to-date.

Technical notes: United Health Services combines Wilson Medical Center and Binghamton General Hospital into a single identification number for Medicare, so Hospital Compare combines our hospitals into a single statistic labeled "United Health Services Hospitals." Statistics on that site refer to all patients of Wilson or Binghamton General. Data for Chenango Memorial Hospital and Delaware Valley Hospital are posted separately.

Why is United Health Services publishing its quality data?

  1. We like what open reporting does for you. As a not-for-profit health care system and a community resource, we believe that you should know how we are performing. We want patients and families to have better information about the quality of healthcare in the Southern Tier.
  2. We like what open reporting does for us. We have found that public reporting has helped us document our care more carefully, obtain more valid data, and use that data to improve patient care.
  3. We like what open reporting does for hospital care in general. We hope that United for Quality will contribute to a better understanding of how to assess, report, and improve hospital quality. We often receive inquiries from other hospitals who are interested in our approach to quality reporting and who also want to provide better information about healthcare quality to consumers. We welcome the chance to collaborate on better methods for making hospital quality data public.

What does "risk-adjusted" mean?

The risk of a complication or death varies by patient and by procedure. For example, an older surgical patient who has complicating illnesses such as kidney failure and diabetes is at greater risk of developing complications than a young, healthy patient is. Open heart surgery has a greater risk of a collapsed lung than knee surgery does.

Risk adjustment mathematically takes into account differences in patient and procedure risk factors, so that comparisons are more meaningful. Risk adjustment allows for comparison of actual performance with predicted performance, based on the average U.S. hospital. More details of risk adjustment are explained on the sites of the national organizations that endorsed these indicators.

If a hospital's performance is red, does that mean it provides bad care?

It's not that simple. There are many possible reasons that performance on an indicator might be below average. Here are a few:

  • The hospital may provide care that is worse than the national average. About half the hospitals in the U.S. will be worse than average on any given indicator. No one wants to be worse than average, but even performance that is significantly worse than the national average may still be well within the range of good care.
  • The hospital may do a better job than other hospitals of detecting and reporting infections or complications.
  • The hospital may do a worse job than other hospitals of detecting and reporting risk factors, so the hospital is not getting full credit for the complexity of its cases.
  • The indicator may do a poor job of capturing what it's trying to measure. Indicators that are especially likely to be weak in this regard include those based only on number of procedures and those based on billing data (the AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators and Inpatient Quality Indicators use billing data).
  • The indicator's risk adjustment statistical model may not take into account all the factors that it should, so the hospital is not getting full credit for the complexity of its cases.

How often will the data in this website be updated?

This website will be updated as new data become available.