Over the past 3 years, physicians from Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (MH-TMC), have begun to systematically review clinical outcomes for patients who have received otorhinolaryngology care at MH-TMC.

For 2011, the re-admission rates and complication rates for patients under the care of the department’s physicians exceeded the national benchmarks of other large teaching hospitals.  For example, the 30 day re-admission rate (for any DRG) was only 6.34%, compared to the national benchmark of 11.36%.  Similarly, complications of condition were only 4.44%, compared to a national benchmark of 9.87%., and the mortality rate was only 1.69%, compared to an expected mortality rate of 4.52%.  It should be noted that these data are both risk-adjusted and severity-adjusted.

Data collection is facilitated by Crimson, a web-based application offered by MH-TMC to its staff physicians.   In 2004, Memorial Hermann Health Network Providers partnered with CRIMSON Software, Inc. in Austin, Texas, to create the Crimson Physician Profiling Tool, which was purchased by The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C., in 2008. Currently in use in hospitals nationwide, the web-based physician profiling application helps Advisory Board member hospitals and their affiliated physicians track patient quality, outcomes and safety.

Crimson pulls together care management databases, data reporting software, patient billing, cost accounting and clinical information systems, and presents the information in a “dashboard” that allows physicians to analyze their performance and compare it with their peers. “Crimson data provides us with an outstanding global overview of how we’re performing as a department,” says Soham Roy, MD, FACS, FAAP, an associate professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the UTHealth Medical School and director of pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. “It also allows us to compare ourselves as a department and institution to others of similar size and caliber.”  Dr. Roy serves as the department’s quality officer and coordinates the department’s quality improvement efforts.

UTHealth/Memorial Hermann Otorhinolaryngology treats patients of all ages with a severity level higher than the national average. In spite of that, the department has outperformed the national average, including standardized adjustments made to accurately compare Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center with other large academic teaching hospitals.

“Using Crimson to benchmark quality and safety outcomes shows us we’re far above average compared to similar departments around the country,” Dr. Roy says. “We’re outperforming our peers in several areas. Our readmission rates are lower. Our mortality data is far better than departments of similar size and scope of practice, and our complication rates are less than half the average in some areas. We’re doing exceptionally well.”

“Our department is dedicated to a systematic assessment of the outcomes of our efforts on behalf of patients.  In this era of healthcare reform, such efforts are critical, since they help us confirm the value that we provide to patients,”  Martin J. Citardi, MD, chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at UTHealth Medical School, and chief of otorhinolaryngology at MH-TMC, observes.