Carolinas Medical Center: Demonstrating High Quality in the Public Sector

July 7, 2010 | Volume 45

Authors: Jennifer Edwards, Dr.P.H.
Contact: Jennifer Edwards, Health Management Associates, jedwards@healthmanagement.com
Editor: Martha Hostetter

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Overview

Carolinas Medical Center was established by the Charlotte-Mecklenberg County Public Authority in 1939 to meet the health care needs of Mecklenberg County residents, and opened its first hospital in 1940. Keeping pace with population growth, multiple facilities now continue the original mission to "care for all who come." High scores on process-of-care, or "core," measures distinguish the Carolinas Medical Center network hospitals as a group, and Carolinas Medical Center–University as the top performer among them. The network relies on multidisciplinary teams who are accountable to leadership for meeting goals; reviews and publicizes performance indicators across hospitals in its network; and redesigns care processes so that standards can be achieved as a matter of routine. For further information about the public hospital selection process and cross-cutting lessons about their improvement efforts, please see our introduction to the public hospital case study series.


This study was based on publicly available information and self-reported data provided by the case study institution(s). The aim of Commonwealth Fund–sponsored case studies of this type is to identify institutions that have achieved results indicating high performance in a particular area of interest, have undertaken innovations designed to reach higher performance, or exemplify attributes that can foster high performance. The studies are intended to enable other institutions to draw lessons from the studied institutions' experience that will be helpful in their own efforts to become high performers. Even the best-performing organizations may fall short in some areas or make mistakes—emphasizing the need for systematic approaches to improve quality and prevent harm to patients and staff. The Commonwealth Fund is not an accreditor of health care organizations or systems, and the inclusion of an institution in the Fund's case study series is not an endorsement by the Fund for receipt of health care from the institution.

Citation

J. Edwards, Carolinas Medical Center: Demonstrating High Quality in the Public Sector, The Commonwealth Fund, July 2010.