Reuters Names Top 15 Health Systems

Health care reform stimulated increased improvement in health systems, but a concerning number surfaced about mortality rates after patients leave the hospital.

After studying more than 300 organizations, Thomson Reuters released its top 15 health systems that have achieved superior clinical outcomes.

The purpose of the study is not just to recognize those health systems that are doing well, but to provide benchmarks for the industry by analyzing what the top performers are doing right and what the low performers are doing wrong.

Banner Health; Phoenix, AZ

CareGroup Healthcare System; Boston, MA

Jefferson Health System; Radnor, PA

Memorial Hermann Healthcare System; Houston, TX

St. Vincent Health; Indianapolis, IN

Baystate Health; Springfield, MA

Geisinger Health System; Danville, PA

HCA Central and West Texas Division; Austin, TX

Mission Health System; Asheville, NC

Prime Healthcare Services; Ontario, CA

Baptist Health; Montgomery, AL

Maury Regional Healthcare System; Columbia, TN

Poudre Valley Health System; Fort Collins, CO

Saint Joseph Regional Health System; Mishawaka, IN

Tanner Health System; Carrolton, GA

The top 15 were scored on eight measures of quality, patient perception of care and efficiency. Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals program at Thomson Reuters said that health care reform has stimulated increased improvement among systems.

"This year we are seeing stronger system-wide performance and increased rates of improvement, particularly among the 15 Top Health Systems award winners,” Chenoweth said in a statement. “Health system performance is beginning to reflect aspirations to provide more consistent outcomes across communities served."

Overall, the top health systems had fewer health complications with rates 19% lower than at non-winning system hospitals. Patients at systems in the top quintile systems are released nearly a full day sooner than those at the lowest performers. The top quintile systems are also more likely to follow accepted care protocols more closely, leading to nearly a quarter fewer adverse patient safety events.

One concerning piece of data that came out of the study was discovered when the study split the 30-day mortality rate into deaths occurring during the hospital stay and after. What Thomson Reuters found was that although mortality rates in U.S. hospitals are decreasing, the rate of patients dying after they leave the hospital but still within 30 days of admission is actually increasing.

“This highlights an important consideration that should not be overlooked when evaluating the 30-day mortality rate statistic: decreasing death rates for patients who die while still in the hospital are masking increasing post-discharge death rates,” according to the study.

Large Health Systems (more than $1.5 billion total operating expense)Medium Health Systems ($750 million to $1.5 billion)Small Health Systems (less than $750 million)