Joint Commission names top-performing hospitals

620 hospitals recognized as 'Top Performers' in second annual list

Joint Commission on Wednesday recognized 620 U.S. hospitals as top performers in adhering to evidence-based care practices that enhance patient outcomes.

The second annual list—included in the 2012 Improving America's Hospitals report—recognizes 53% more hospitals than last year's list, which recognized just 405 hospitals.

Overall, roughly 18% of the more than 3,300 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals that report quality data were recognized on the 2012 list. Altogether, 244 hospitals achieved the distinction in both 2011 and 2012.

How the Commission identifies 'top performers'

For its 2012 report, the Joint Commission analyzed the performance of accredited hospitals on 45 accountability measures included in the organization's Key Quality Measures program for all of 2011. The measures are related to myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, stroke care, and children's asthma care, among others.

To be recognized as a "Top Performer on Key Quality Measures," a hospital had to meet or exceed 95% performance on a composite score that included all accountability measures reported to the Joint Commission, including those with fewer than 30 eligible cases. It also had to meet or exceed 95% performance on all accountability measures, excluding measures with fewer than 30 eligible cases.

In addition to the 18% of the hospitals recognized as "Top Performers," another 17% of the hospitals—or 583 hospitals—fell just one measure short of the 95% benchmark.

"These hospitals are leading the way in quality improvement, as American hospitals continue to make strides," Joint Commission President Mark Chassin said.

Report shows overall improvements in hospital performance

Overall, the seventh annual Improving America's Hospitals report—which draws on data that all accredited hospitals report to the Joint Commission—showed that hospitals have continued to improve on all accountability measures across the past 10 years.

For example, the data show that hospitals in 2011 achieved 96.6% composite performance on 16.1 million opportunities to perform care processes related to accountability measures, up from an 81.8% composite performance on 957,000 opportunities in 2002.

In addition, the report found that:

  • MI care adhered to evidence-based guidelines in  98.5% of cases in 2011, up from 88.6% in 2002;
  • Pneumonia care adhered to evidence-based guidelines in  96.2% of cases in 2011, up from 72.4% in 2002; and
  • Surgical care adhered to evidence-based guidelines in 97.6% of cases in 2011, up from 82.1% in 2002.

According to Chassin, "Better performance will help hospitals meet the valued-based purchasing requirements of federal and state governments and private payers."

He adds, "Day-to-day progress will slowly but surely transform today’s health care system into one that achieves unprecedented performance outcomes for the benefit of the patients we serve" (Rau, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 9/19; McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 9/19 [subscription required]; Joint Commission release, 9/19; Joint Commission report, 9/19).

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