The Top 100 Hospitals Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs

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improve outcomesThe results of Truven’s Annual 100 Top Hospitals Study in 2016 revealed an exciting healthcare outcomes improvement trend: the majority of the study’s top-performing hospitals improved outcomes and reduced overall costs per patient. According to a Healthcare Dive article about the trend, “Hospitals in three out of the five hospital categories actually reduced overall expense year over year, while improving patient outcomes.” This outcomes improvement and cost reduction trend was unprecedented in the Truven study’s 23-year history.

How the Top 100 Hospitals Are Selected

Truven’s 100 Top Hospitals Study is comprehensive, academically-driven, and based on public information (i.e., Medicare cost reports) and independent, objective research; hospitals and health systems don’t apply or pay for the top 100 distinction.

In 2016, Truven evaluated 2,787 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals on clinical and operational performance in 11 areas, from inpatient mortality to Medicare spend per beneficiary. The top 100 hospitals are chosen as a result of their ability to demonstrate performance on two aspects of care (how patients are cared for through clinical measures and how the hospital performs as an efficient business) and more than a dozen measures (i.e., mortality, complications, length of stay, readmissions, financial performance, patient satisfaction, and spending per beneficiary).

Top Hospitals Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs

Truven’s 2016 top-performing hospitals key results proved that outcomes improvement can happen in tandem with reduced costs:

  • Lower 30-day mortality and readmission rates
  • Shorter Length of Stay (median severity-adjusted length of stay was ½ day shorter)
  • Fewer patient complications (21 percent fewer complications)
  • Better survival rates (23 percent fewer deaths)
  • Lower inpatient costs (three percent lower inpatient costs per beneficiary)
  • Year-over-year decline in total inpatient expense per discharge
  • Higher profit overall margins (median operating profit margin was nine percentage points higher)

According to Truven, if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the top 100 hospitals:

  • More than 140,000 additional lives could be saved.
  • Nearly 48,400 additional patients could be complication free.
  • $2 billion in inpatient costs could be saved.
  • The average patient stay would decrease by ½ day.

Outcomes Improvement Requires Data, Evidence-Based Practices, and Standardization

Truven’s top-performing hospital and health systems are improving outcomes and reducing costs by using healthcare data and analytics, evidence-based practices, and standardization. Modern Healthcare’s article Truven’s 100 Top Hospitals focus on standardization to improve outcomes, cut costs, describes how one of Truven’s Everest Award winners (for demonstrating rapid improvement from 2009 to 2013), Little Company of Mary, used evidence-based practices to drive care and data to discover outcomes improvement focus areas. According to the article, “Hospitals that did better on extended outcome measures also appeared to be working on improved care coordination.”

According to Jean Chenoweth, Truven’s Senior Vice President of Performance Improvement, “You have to shift away from the process improvement and focus on consistency and uniformity.” Chenoweth thinks the top-performing hospitals are up against a significant challenge in that sustaining outcomes improvement is harder than achieving it: “Setting a high rate of improvement and achieving high-level performance is hard, but maintaining it requires innovation and is even harder.”

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