15 top health systems named by IBM Watson Health

The study evaluates system performance across nine clinical and operational performance benchmarks.

15 top health systems named by IBM Watson Health

IBM Watson Health recently announced its 15 Top Health Systems annual study, identifying what it deems to be the best performing health systems based on organizational performance. The systems were selected based on a balanced scorecard that takes into account publicly available data for clinical, operational and patient satisfaction.

The company, which has conducted the study annually since 2008, said the top-performing health systems achieved better risk-adjusted outcomes and higher patient satisfaction scores, while maintaining a lower average cost per patient than other health systems evaluated in the study.

Benchmarks for the study

The Watson Health study evaluates health system performance across nine clinical and operational performance benchmarks. These include risk-adjusted inpatient mortality index; risk-adjusted complications index; mean healthcare-associated infection index; mean 30-day risk-adjusted mortality rate; mean 30-day risk-adjusted readmission rate; severity-adjusted length of stay; mean emergency department throughput; Medicare spend per beneficiary index; and HCAHPS score.

This year, researchers began testing a series of new measures that update the basic standards of inpatient care, including outpatient imaging efficiency for breast and chest scans; process of care for severe sepsis and septic shock; 30-day all-cause, hospital-wide readmissions; 30- and 90-day episode of care payment measures; excess days in acute care measures; and 90-day complication measures.

Achieving results

IBM Watson reports that the key performance measurements on which the 15 best-scoring systems showed the most significant average outperformance vs. peer group health systems.

• Overall, 13.8 percent fewer in-hospital deaths.
• Patients experienced 12.6 percent fewer complications and 9.8 percent fewer healthcare-associated infections.
• A median severity-adjusted length of stay that was one half-day shorter than peers.
• Overall, median emergency department wait times were 38 minutes shorter per patient.
• Combined in-hospital and post-discharge costs were 1.1 percent lower per episode.
• Overall hospital experience, as measured by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), was rated 2.5 percent higher for leading health systems.

Here are the leading health systems, by category.

Avera Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Avera Health is a regional health system based in Sioux Falls, S.D., comprising more than 300 locations in 100 communities throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota. Avera serves a geographical footprint of more than 72,000 square miles and 86 counties, and a population of nearly 1 million.

Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit academic medical center based in Rochester, Minn., focused on integrated clinical practice, education, and research. It employs more than 4,500 physicians and scientists, along with another 58,400 administrative and allied health staff. The practice specializes in treating difficult cases through tertiary care and destination medicine. It also has campuses in Arizona and Florida.

Mercy, Chesterfield, MO

Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

St. Luke's Health System, Boise, Idaho

As the only Idaho-based, not-for-profit health system, St. Luke’s is dedicated to the mission, “To improve the health of people in the communities we serve.”

UCHealth, Aurora, Colo.

The network of nationally recognized hospitals, clinic locations and healthcare providers extends throughout Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska.

Edward-Elmhurst Health, Naperville, Ill.

Edward-Elmhurst Health is one of the larger integrated health systems in Illinois. The system was created by the merger of Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare in 2013.

HealthPartners, Bloomington, Minn.

HealthPartners is an integrated, nonprofit healthcare provider and health insurance company located in Bloomington, Minn., offering care, coverage, research and education to its members, patients and the community.

Mercy Health, Cincinnati (Ohio)

Mercy Health is a Catholic healthcare ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky. With nearly 35,000 employees across regions of Ohio and Kentucky, it is one ministry serving eight regions in Ohio and Kentucky.

Parkview Health, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Parkview Health System, founded in 1878 with Fort Wayne City Hospital, is a network of more than 80 community hospitals and clinics in northern Indiana and northwest Ohio. The not-for-profit Parkview Health System is the region's largest employer with more than 10,000.

TriHealth, Cincinnati, Ohio

TriHealth is a unified health system based in Cincinnati. It was originally formed in 1995 to bring together physicians,and Bethesda and Good Samaritan Hospitals. The system now comprises four hospitals, Bethesda North, Good Samaritan, Bethesda Butler and TriHealth Evendale Hospital, and it can be accessed through over 100 locations.

Asante, Medford, Ore.

As the largest healthcare provider in nine counties, Asante provides comprehensive medical care to 600,000 people throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California. Its facilities include Asante Ashland Community Hospital in Ashland, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass, Asante Physician Partners and additional healthcare partnerships throughout the region.

Aspirus, Wausau, Wis.

Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wis. It has 7,700 employees serving Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Upper Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, more than 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians.

PIH Health, Whittier, Calif.

PIH Health is a regional not-for-profit healthcare delivery network that serves more than 2.1 million residents in Los Angeles County, Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley.

ProHealth Care, Waukesha, Wis.

For more than a century, ProHealth Care has been the healthcare leader in Waukesha County, Wisconsin and surrounding areas, providing outstanding care across a full spectrum of services.

Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Spectrum Health System, commonly known as Spectrum Health, is a not-for-profit, integrated, managed care healthcare organization based in West Michigan. Spectrum Health's subsidiaries include hospitals, treatment facilities, urgent care facilities, as well as physician practices that serve the western Michigan area.

For more information

For more information on the IBM Watson Health report, go here.

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