GR Health System Among Truven’s National Top 15

ANN ARBOR — The Ann Arbor health care consultant Truven Health Analytics Monday released its list of the top 15 health systems in the United States based on clinical and administrative performance.

The hospitals on the list — including Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health — achieved superior performance based on a composite score of nine measures of care quality, patient perception of care, cost per episode of illness and operational efficiency.

The Truven Health 15 Top Health Systems study analyzed data from 340 health systems and 2,812 member hospitals. Truven says it’s the only study of its kind to aggregate rigorous analysis of individual hospital performance metrics into system-level data, and is intended to provide hospital administrators and boards of directors with crucial, evidence-based insights into the effectiveness of health system leadership, organizational performance and management alignment.

“Despite the headwinds of a slowly improving national economy, increased consolidation and a new set of rules imposed by reform, this year’s 15 Top Health Systems have delivered higher quality and become more efficient,” said Jean Whenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement at Truven. “These leadership teams are transforming their systems more rapidly than their peers, and they are proving that it is possible to do more with lower reimbursements. The common trait among all top performers in our study is their ability to inspire collaboration and align best practices across their organizations. Management excellence has proven to be the key to reliable cost and quality improvement.”

Among the key findings in this year’s study, winning health systems achieved higher survival rates and fewer errors at a lower overall treatment cost than non-winning health systems. The research also found that individual hospitals that are part of larger health systems are 61 percent more likely to be named 100 Top Hospitals study winners than those that are not part of a multi-hospital system. Geographically, Minnesota and Indiana had the highest concentration of top health systems, with two each.

Specific winning health system performance metrics include:
* Lower Cost per Episode: The winning 15 top health systems spent 7 percent less per care episode than non-winning peer systems.
* Better Survival Rates: The winning systems also experienced 1.2 percent fewer deaths than non-winning peer systems.
* Fewer Complications: Patients of the winning health systems had 5 percent fewer complications than patients in other systems.
* Better Patient Safety and Core Measures Adherence: The top health systems had 10.9 percent better patient safety performance and better adherence to core measures of care than their peers.

“Superior health system leadership has become the fundamental impetus for success in the post-reform healthcare environment,” said Mike Boswood, Truven Health Analytics president and CEO. “By outperforming their peers across a wide range of key clinical and administrative performance measures, the leaders of the 15 Top Health Systems have shown that it is possible to consistently deliver higher quality care at a better value.”

The study divides the top health systems into three comparison groups based on total operating expense of the member hospitals. The 2015 winners are as follows:

Large Health Systems (more than $1.5 billion in total operating expense)
* Allina Health, Minneapolis
* Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.
* OhioHealth, Columbus
* Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids
* St. Vincent Health, Indianapolis

Medium Health Systems ($750 million – $1.5 billion in total operating expense)
* Alegent Creighton Health, Omaha, Neb.
* Exempla Healthcare, Denver, Colo.
* Mercy Health Southwest Ohio Region, Cincinnati
* Mission Health, Asheville, N.C.
* St. Luke’s Health System, Boise, Idaho

Small Health Systems (less than $750 million in total operating expense)
* Asante, Medford, Ore.
* Maury Regional Healthcare System, Columbia, Tenn.
* Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Charleston, S.C.
* St. Joseph Regional Health System, Mishawaka, Ind.
* Tanner Health System, Carrollton, Ga.

To see a list of previous winners, please visit

U.S. health systems with two or more short-term, general, nonfederal hospitals; cardiac, orthopedic and women’s hospitals; and critical access hospitals were assessed in the study. Researchers looked at nine metrics that gauge clinical quality and efficiency: mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average length of stay, 30-day mortality rate, 30-day readmission rate, adherence to clinical standards of care (evidence-based core measures published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), Medicare spend per beneficiary and HCAHPS patient survey score. (HCAHPS stands for the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, a part of a national initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to measure the quality of care in hospitals.)

The study relied on public data from the 2012 and 2013 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data and the CMS Hospital Compare datasets.

Researchers from the Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals program have analyzed and reported on the performance of individual hospitals since 1993.

Truven Health has introduced a number of new performance measures to this year’s study, which are currently being evaluated for inclusion in future installments of the 15 Top Health Systems study. These include emergency department efficiency, 30-day readmission rates for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke, operating margin and long-term debt-to-capitalization ratio.

For more information, visit

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