Saturday, July 12, 2008

(click to enlarge)

Latest USNews Hospital Rankings

How Are We Doing At the University of Minnesota Hospital in '08?

The news is in and it is not good. I first thought of Lao-Tzu: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

There is some question about the exact translation and meaning of the phrase. A more correct translation from the original Chinese would be "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."

To become "one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic]" shouldn't we first improve incrementally? Become one of the better schools in the BigTen, perhaps?

But, no, OurLeader will have none of this. To suggest such a thing is to be labeled "a doubter."

"I've heard some of the 'doubters' say things like, 'I'd settle for best in the Big Ten," he [Bruininks] said. "Students don't choose the University of Minnesota for (a) mediocre future."

Such a statement certainly seems both arrogant and foolish.

Instead of focusing on a mountain a thousand miles away, shouldn't we look at our feet, analyze the situation in which we find ourselves, and make realistic plans to advance our goals? Let's see, a thousand miles in ten years, that's one hundred miles per year. In four years shouldn't we be four hundred miles? And if not, maybe we should think very hard about where we are going and how we are trying to get there?

Continuing to talk about our lofty ultimate goals, while ignoring lack of progress for four or five years, is foolish. Continuing to cry that we need new buildings, more money, and manna from heaven is not going to get us there.

In order to try to convince OurLeaders that perhaps they should consider another strategy, I have been systematically tracking progress, or lack thereof, over the past few years.

I think these results speak for themselves.

OurLeaders may argue that USNews rankings are not accurate or don't matter. They may be right about the first point, but not the second.

It is surprisingly easy, using tools on the web, for an ordinary person to locate such information. This is going to happen more and more. As with our performance on diabetes care, this situation must be improved or the money-making engine that is University Hospitals will not be churning out the cash that OurLeaders apparently think will help us finance our thousand mile journey to greatness.

Here is the official list
of America's Best Hospitals '08

The 19 institutions that achieved high scores in at least six specialties.

* 1 Johns Hopkins Hospital

* 2 Mayo Clinic - an outstanding performance - kudos

* 3 Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

* 4 Cleveland Clinic

* 5 Massachusetts General Hospital

* 6 New York-Presbyterian Univ. Hosp.

* 7 UCSF Medical Center

* 8 Brigham and Women's Hospital

* 8 Duke University Medical Center

* 10 Hosp. of the Univ. of Pennsylvania

* 10 Univ. of Washington Medical Center

* 12 Barnes-Jewish Hospital/ Washington University

* 13 University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers

* 14 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

* 15 Vanderbilt University Medical Center

* 16 Stanford Hospital and Clinics

* 17 University of Chicago Medical Center

* 18 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

* 19 Yale-New Haven Hospital

Being located in Minnesota is not a barrier to being among the best, witness Mayo.

Being a public institution is not a barrier either, witness UCSF, Michigan, Pitt, UDub.

Pitt is in a very economically depressed area. Why are they cleaning our clock? They even got an "A" on their report card for conflict of interest policies. (We got a D.)

"Exemplary. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has implemented a set of some of the most ambitious conflicts of interest policies in the country."
Did they just get lucky? Or could it have been ... leadership ... vision?

Question: How are we going to get from here to there?

Hint: The answer is not to simply to build new biomedical research buildings. Improvements need to be made immediately in some of the specialties above, before focusing on translational research and new therapies. These are fine buzzwords to use in research proposals, but they don't help pitiful performances in geriatrics and psychiatry and uneven performance in gynecology - even though we have a "Center for Women's Health" at Minnesota.

Question: How can we save a half million dollars a year that could be better used in our efforts?

Hint: See previous post (below).

(If you are really into MoneyBall, see: "What the h?")

(Given our situation, maybe we need to start playing MoneyBall around here ?)

No comments: