The measure of quality that matters most is lives saved. The mortality outcomes at Sentara hospitals are considerably lower, and, therefore, better than expected. This means more people live than would be expected based on the experience of other hospitals. What You Need to Know When checking mortality for a hospital, the lower the number, the better. This applies to both mortality rates (percent of mortality) and mortality ratios (actual rate compared to predicted rate). Look for a mortality ratio of less than 1.0. Only use mortality ratios that are "severity-adjusted," which minimizes differences among patients for a more accurate comparison between hospitals.