The "Best Hospitals" lists recognize hospitals at two levels: the 50 Best Hospitals and the 100 Best Hospitals. The rankings build on the organization's 2017 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence list, which was released in January and recognized the top 5 percent of hospitals in the country.
How 'best hospitals' are selected
To be eligible for consideration, hospitals had to report sufficient data to assess mortality and complication rates for at least 21 of the 32 conditions and procedures included in the Healthgrades methodology. Healthgrades used information from CMS' Medicare Provider Analysis and Review database for 2013 through 2015 to assess mortality and complication rates for those conditions and procedures.
Using that data, Healthgrades identified the top 5 percent of hospitals and awarded them the Distinguished Award for Clinical Excellence.
To qualify for the 50 Best Hospitals list, hospitals must have received the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence for at least six consecutive years. Hospitals on the 100 Best Hospitals list, which represents the top 2 percent of hospitals based on the criteria, must have received the Distinguished Award for at least three consecutive years.
'Best Hospital' list highlights
Hospitals on the list were unevenly distributed across the country, Becker's Hospital Review reports. For example, 22 states and Washington, D.C., didn't have a hospital in the top 100. California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania had the highest concentration of hospitals on the list.
From 2013 to 2015, the risk-adjusted mortality rate for the evaluated procedures and conditions at the 100 Best Hospitals was 27.1 percent lower than at other hospitals. Healthgrades estimated at least 179,438 lives could have been saved over the three-year period if all U.S. hospitals had performed at the level of the Best Hospitals.
Further, an accompanying white paper noted that hospitals on the list perform well on patient engagement measures. Healthgrades cited various examples, including Virginia Mason Medical Center's Orthopedic Patient-Peer Partner Program. Under the program, patients who underwent joint replacement surgery at the Seattle-based hospital can return as volunteers to help new patients preparing for joint replacement.
Healthgrades CMO Brad Bowman said, "Hospitals that have achieved 'America's Best Hospitals' distinction have sustained high quality outcomes for their patients over many years and often, offer programs that engage consumers and their overall communities in their care."
Bowman added, "Health care consumerism is requiring hospitals and health systems to innovate in a variety of areas, including quality, to meet growing expectations about the level of care, personalization and convenience" (Gooch/Punke, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/21; Healthgrades methodology, accessed 2/23; Healthgrades release, 2/21; Mulero, Healthcare DIVE, 2/22).
7 imperatives to transform your quality strategy
The central mission of hospitals and health systems will always remain constant: provide high-quality care to patients. But with a sea of market changes impacting clinical quality goals, the conventional quality path that most hospitals are on is no longer sufficient—or smart.
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