Quality and safety: Tracking outcomes to ensure the highest quality care

Each day UW Health commits to providing our patients with safe, quality health care helping them stay healthy and returning them to wellness if they become ill.

Safety data

We measure to maintain excellency

The safety of our patients is a top priority and UW Health has been at the forefront of a number of patient safety initiatives.

What does UW Health safety data show?

How well does UW Health deliver the basics of good care. This includes how well our doctors communicate with our patients and how easy it is to access our services.

How well does UW Health do in helping our patients avoid illness and stay healthy. This includes screenings for disease and health problems, immunizations and other services geared towards healthy living.

How well do we do in helping our patients recover when they are sick or injured. This includes treatment, follow-up care, patient experiences and how happy they are with the care they received.

Does UW Health help our patients with ongoing, chronic conditions take care of themselves, control their symptoms, avoid complications and manage their daily activities.

How well does UW Health care for people and their families with terminal illness. This includes palliative care/end-of-life care, pain management, spiritual care and support for caregivers.

Safety measures

Medication use in hospitals and health systems is highly complex and often involves many distinct steps. Each step in the medication use process introduces a potential for error or patient harm. UW Health has implemented the following system to reduce the opportunity for medication errors. We utilize state of the art technology including:

  • Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA) across UW Health to confirm the correct patient is given the correct medication prior to administration.

  • Automated dispensing cabinets (ADC) storage units on our inpatient units to securely store medication and track inventory.

  • Central pharmacy utilizes robotics and carousels to ensure accurate and timely delivery of medications. We also utilize IV Workflow technology in our sterile processing (SPA) facility.

  • “Smart” intravenous infusion pumps are used throughout our hospitals to prevent medication infusion errors. In addition, we employ interoperability to reduce manual programming errors.

Patient falls are among the most common injury reported in hospitals across the country. UW Health is committed to making patient stays safe for everyone by:

  • Equipping all patient bed with exit alarms to alert nursing staff

  • Educating our staff and patients and families on the importance of asking for assistance

The responsibility to keep our patient’s safe belongs to all our staff and physicians. UW Health’s workforce is given a Culture of Safety survey every two years. The survey is focused on psychological safety, teamwork, continuous improvement, and overall safety. Results of the survey are communicated organization wide and are used to make improvements where needed.

We are proud of the excellent nursing care we provide our patients and their families. We are always evaluating the number of nurses we have compared to the number of patients to ensure the best individual patient care.


Exceeding national standards

UW Health is committed to providing safe, quality health care. Meeting or exceeding nationally recognized performance standards through participation accreditation and certification programs is one way to assure we are continually striving to improve the services we provide.

UW Health provider-based services in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois proudly display The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval, demonstrating our commitment to consistently provide safe, high quality, and excellent health care.

The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval

The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission is a not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 23,000 health care organizations and programs across the United States. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that oversees the quality of healthcare operations, has granted The Joint Commission "deemed status," meaning that accredited organizations meet federal healthcare quality requirements.

The Joint Commission routinely conducts surveys that measure performance in key areas, such as patient care, patient rights, medication management, infection control, emergency management, environment of care safety, leadership and human resources. The surveys involve unannounced onsite visits to evaluate care processes and provide feedback on ways to improve. The Gold Seal of Approval achievement signifies that we have met or exceeded rigorous performance standards in delivering safe, quality care under the following UW Health programs.

In northern Illinois


  • Hospital

  • Home Care (Home Health Services, Durable Medical Equipment, Infusion Services, Enteral & Parenteral Nutrition, Pharmacy and Rehab services)

  • Laboratory


In Wisconsin


  • Hospital

  • Home Care (Durable Medical Equipment, Specialty Pharmacy)

  • Laboratory