Five Michigan hospitals make Fortune/IBM Watson top 100 in the U.S.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Five Michigan hospitals made the list of 100 Top Hospitals released by IBM Watson Health and Fortune magazine.

The organizations said this year’s ranking introduced a measure of hospitals’ contributions to community health with a focus on equity, along with measures of clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, patient experience, and financial health.

In the category of major teaching hospitals, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and Spectrum Health Hospitals in Grand Rapids made the list, as did Ascension Providence Hospital Southfield Campus.

In the category of medium community hospitals, McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey was honored. And in the category of small community hospitals, Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital in Zeeland made the list.

A team of experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity and the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, developed the measure of hospital contributions to community health with a focus on equity. For the ranking, hospitals were surveyed across three components: assessing hospital contributions to community health as a provider of critical services for community health and preventive care; identifying ways that hospitals contribute to community health as a community partner teaming up with local organizations to implement critical programs; and focusing on ways that hospitals promote community health through their practices as anchor institutions supporting local economic and social progress. Hospitals received credit for meeting a certain number of best practice standards in each component as part of the survey scoring and the new measure led to a change in ranking for more than one-third of the 100 hospitals.

“Hospitals save lives both by caring for individuals who are sick and by working to keep their communities healthy,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement and director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “By recognizing hospital excellence in community health with a focus on equity, IBM Watson Health is helping advance the broad and urgent mission of healthcare in the twenty-first century.”

Added Irene Dankwa-Mullan, chief health equity officer and deputy chief health officer at IBM Watson Health: “We believe that including a community measure as part of the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals ranking can help begin the process of change and improvement across the hospital community.

The goal of the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals and IBM Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems lists is to identify top performing hospitals and health systems and deliver insights that may help healthcare organizations focus their improvement initiatives on achieving consistent, balanced and sustainable high performance. The studies used to determine the lists are based on a balanced scorecard of publicly available clinical, operational, and patient satisfaction metrics and data.

Compared to similar hospitals, the hospitals included on the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list had better results on performance indicators intended to measure clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, patient experience and financial health. These include survival rates, patient complications, healthcare-associated infections, 30-day mortality and 30-day hospital-wide readmission rates, length of stay, throughput in emergency departments, inpatient expenses, profitability, and ratings from patients. Additionally, performance by these 100 hospitals, when extrapolated to all Medicare inpatients, could result in:

  • More than 79,000 additional lives saved in the hospital;
  • More than 44,000 additional patients being complication-free;
  • More than $10.1 billion in inpatient costs saved; and
  • More than 34,000 fewer discharged patients readmitted within 30 days.

To determine the hospitals included on the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list, IBM Watson Health researchers evaluated 2,675 short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals. All research was based on Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MEDPAR) data, and data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website. Hospitals do not apply for awards, and winners do not pay to market this honor.

IBM Watson Health is a data, analytics, and technology partner for the health industry. Through the combination of industry expertise in health, data and analytics, actionable insights, and reputation for security and trust, Watson Health is working together with its clients and partners to help them achieve simpler processes, better care insights, faster breakthroughs, and improved experiences for people around the world. Learn more at

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