While there is no commonly accepted definition of preventable deaths, Penn believes there are several factors that can contribute. For example, an underlying condition such as hypertension can go undetected and lead to a potentially fatal disease. Or the administration of an incorrect medication can result in fatality. Coupled with the goal of reducing 30-day re-admissions, Penn has worked hard to find these underlying conditions and to treat them, reducing mortality risks and re-admissions.

Death rates from heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia are widely viewed as measures of a hospital's overall performance. One way to tell whether a hospital is doing a good job is to find out whether patients admitted to the hospital have mortality (death) rates that are lower (better), equal to, or higher (worse) than the U.S. national rate, given how sick they were when they were admitted to the hospital.

Read the Annual Report Blueprint for Quality and Safety

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