SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Nikita Ivanov, Sean Houghton

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Healthgrades Announces America’s Best Hospitals™ in 2014

Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals, today announced America’s 50 and 100 Best Hospitals™, according to a new report entitled “Voices of America’s Best: Strategies that Sustain Quality.” The report includes in-depth interviews with C-level executives from some of these top performing hospitals who provide insights to the goals, processes and strategies that have helped them achieve a place in the top one or two percent of hospitals nationwide.

To put the achievements of Healthgrades America’s 100 Best Hospitals into perspective, from 2010 to 2012, the hospitals as a group had an overall 24.53% lower risk-adjusted mortality rate across 19 procedures and conditions where in-hospital mortality was the clinical outcome, compared to all other hospitals. During this same period, if all other hospitals had performed at the level of America's 100 Best Hospitals, 160,701 lives could have potentially been saved.

“In this increasingly complex healthcare market, America’s 100 BestTM hospitals stand out above the rest for demonstrating a long-standing commitment to exceptional clinical care,” said Evan Marks, EVP, Informatics and Strategy, Healthgrades. “We applaud these hospitals for achieving this impressive distinction at a time when our nation’s healthcare industry is under extreme scrutiny to perform better. They have achieved remarkable outcomes by redefining hospital culture and transforming paradigms to be both patient-centered and outcomes-focused, in order to achieve success.”

In the Healthgrades report, executives at America’s Best Hospitals outlined three themes as core to their success, with this commitment to quality improvement a critical component in their success:

      1.   Engaged Leadership: Hospital leaders at America’s Best Hospitals set the bar high and not only aim to meet the standards, but seek to raise them. With the Institute of Medicine’s quality domains in mind, hospital executives identify customized, high-impact goals based on data and experience. They increasingly look to safety standards outside the hospital industry to challenge what is possible and expect a commitment from the entire organization.
2. Established Culture: America’s Best Hospitals are at the helm of a transformation in healthcare that puts patients at the center of their quality efforts. By expanding their definition of quality to include their patients’ well-being during and beyond their hospital stay, hospitals have discovered that patient-centered care leads to improved outcomes over time. Hospitals that embrace this philosophy – and empower their employees to listen to the patient, encourage teamwork and empower all employees across the organization – are achieving extraordinary results.
3. Continuous Measurement: Despite the often-overwhelming amount of metrics and data at hand, executives interviewed explained that focusing on a handful of high-impact quality goals could clear the confusion. To achieve their goals they did the following: utilize a variety of improvement models; report transparently and consistently; identify vulnerabilities; and test improvement strategies to close any gaps.

The report concludes that for America’s Best Hospitals, higher quality and better outcomes drive down costs, enabling organizations to grow. Simply stated: improving quality allows hospitals to care for more people with better outcomes at lower cost.

How Healthgrades Measures Performance

Unlike other organizations evaluating hospital performance, Healthgrades provides objective measures rooted solely in the domains of science and statistical analysis, leaving perception and reputation out of the equation. Every year, Healthgrades analyzes three years (2010 – 2012) of Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data to produce a detailed report on mortality and complication rates in America’s hospitals. For the 2014 report, Healthgrades analyzed approximately 40 million patient records for nearly 4,500 short-term, acute care hospitals nationwide, assessing hospital performance relative to each of more than 31 common conditions and procedures.

Healthgrades risk adjusts these analyses for factors that influence patient outcomes. These factors may include age, gender, specific procedure performed, and co-morbid conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The outcomes evaluated are clinically-based measures, including in-hospital complications or in-hospital and 30-day post-admission mortality.

The America’s Best Hospitals Awards recognize those hospitals that have achieved superior performance and sustained that performance year over year. Achieving the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ is the prerequisite for consideration for the America’s Best Hospitals Award. All Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence recipients are evaluated, with those 260 hospitals achieving this distinction year over year rising to the top of the list. To learn more about how Healthgrades determines America’s Best Hospitals Award recipients, please visit www.healthgrades.com/quality.

About Healthgrades

Healthgrades, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. More than 250 million visitors annually use the Healthgrades websites to search, compare and connect with physicians and hospitals that best meet their treatment needs. Consumers are empowered through use of the Healthgrades proprietary information about clinical outcomes, satisfaction, safety, and health conditions to make more informed healthcare decisions and take action. For more information about the Healthgrades report and to make informed decisions about hospitals and physicians in your area, visit www.healthgrades.com or download the Healthgrades iPhone app.

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