A commitment to measurable quality

Our commitment to measurable quality is the cornerstone of what we do every day and essential to living our purpose. Our integrated model is designed to coordinate and simplify care and improve outcomes. We hold ourselves accountable for results and in 2010 Aurora was ranked among the best health care systems in the U.S.

Two new medical centers

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Aurora opened two new medical centers in 2010, expanding access and options for our patients in Grafton and western Waukesha County. Both bring together hospital, home health, pharmacy, and clinic services in a single campus location. They feature the most advanced technologies for diagnoses and treatment, and primary and specialty care services. With efficient design and patient-centered features, the medical centers are family-friendly and have a home-like feel. The Aurora Medical Center in Grafton is the first and only entirely green medical center in Wisconsin. This makes sense for the future of the entire community and improves our patients' ability to heal.

Better access to physicians

Medical group affiliations and enhanced clinical offerings in 2010 continued to provide our patients greater access to high-quality primary and specialty services. With the addition of the physicians and clinical staff from the Midwest Heart Surgery Institute and from Oncology Alliance, we were able to deepen our already extensive level of expertise in the areas of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery and cancer treatment. Affiliation with the Midtown Health Center provides needed primary care services in the central city. And the addition of renowned Echo cardiology physicians and technicians at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center ensures that our patients can receive world-class care close to home. By providing access to a deep well of primary and specialty services, we encourage collaboration and can better coordinate care to meet the individual needs of our patients.

Electronic health record

Aurora's system-wide implementation of a single electronic health record system kicked off in 2010. The three-year project is transforming the clinical process and is Aurora's largest undertaking. A great portion of the costs for transitioning sites to the new system will be funded through the federal government stimulus fund.

To qualify for the stimulus funding, Aurora's eligible providers must use a certified electronic health record in a way that meets specific requirements included in the government's initiative. Implementation of the new system provides the required elements to qualify for the funding.

The new health record will improve the way we work and help us coordinate care and share best practices among all locations. Our patients will enjoy a more consistent approach, simplified billing, scheduling ease and improved safety. Aurora caregivers will have better access to the information they need, improved communication across disciplines and an intuitive, user-friendly system. This new tool will mean better clinical quality and a better patient experience.

Conversion to the new system will transform multiple patient records into one single record and multiple bills into a single bill. It will also enable better two-way communication and simplified scheduling and registration.

Partnering to expand research capabilities

Aurora has always been a pioneer in bringing health care firsts, like heart transplants and high-tech clinical trials, to Wisconsin. Now, with 600 active research projects in progress, we are focused on expanding our efforts and speeding up the clinical trial process. Two new partnerships in 2010 will help advance this objective.

  • We are collaborating with Oracle, the world's most complete, integrated business software and hardware systems company. Our work will connect health care providers and the world's leading life science companies in an effort to more rapidly deliver innovative therapies for patients. The partnership will enhance collaboration across the health care and life sciences continuum and contribute significant advancements that improve patients' lives while lowering costs.
  • Aurora is also a founding partner in the Wisconsin Medical Entrepreneurship Foundation (WisMef), a partnership designed to speed medical innovation, advance patient care and boost entrepreneurship. Partners include Marshfield Clinic, BayCare Health Systems and WiSys Technology Foundation. The foundation will enable us to take advantage of the shared wisdom and resources of the University of Wisconsin system and the state's most experienced medical providers. The founding organization brings more than 3,400 professionals, including doctors, nurses and other clinical experts, under the consortium umbrella.

Measuring clinical quality

At Aurora, we believe that the pursuit of excellence is not enough – we also hold ourselves accountable for results. Clinical excellence, affordability and outstanding experience are all important elements of the quality equation. We constantly measure ourselves against national benchmarks in all three of these areas and our results in 2010 continue to be excellent.

We analyzed the effect of 27 specific initiatives in our award-winning Care Management program. The program, which involves more than 1,200 Aurora physicians, benefited more than a million lives and prevented nearly 1,500 deaths in 2010.

Three key recognitions in 2010 reflect our ongoing commitment to quality:

  • Aurora Health Care is among the top performing health systems in a national project that ties incentive payments to quality outcomes. This is the third year Aurora has been a top performer in the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID) project sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Premier, a national health care alliance. In addition, Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay and Aurora Memorial Hospital in Burlington were noted as national leaders for their individual performance.
  • Thomson Reuters ranked Aurora Health Care among the top 50 health systems in the U.S. based on clinical performance. The best-performing health systems have lower mortality and fewer medical complications and patient safety incidents. Aurora ranked in the top 20 percent of the list.
  • Seven Aurora hospitals were recognized by Premier's QUEST: High Performing Hospitals Initiative. Aurora hospitals were top performers in this national quality and safety initiative further evidencing the impact of our quality improvement efforts to save lives while reducing costs.