Denver-based HealthGrades has released its annual list of the 50 top-performing hospitals, a designation it bases on facilities' rates of inhospital mortality and complications.
Researchers from the ratings organization analyzed more than 140 million Medicare patient records from 1999 to 2009 for the report, according to a news release from HealthGrades. Hospitals that made the cut for this year's list (PDF)
received top clinical quality scores for the most consecutive years. For instance, 28 of the top-performing hospitals have been in the top 5% of U.S. hospitals for nine consecutive years, according to the release.
The top 50 hospitals, which are located in 19 states, had 28.59% lower risk-adjusted inhospital mortality and 3.45% lower risk of complications, the authors found. The researchers also contended that if all hospitals had performed at the level of the top performers, more than half a million Medicare deaths could have been prevented over the past decade.
"As our nation searches for a solution to providing Americans with access to high-quality healthcare at an affordable price, these hospitals are setting the standard, demonstrating that consistent, sustainable clinical excellence is achievable," said Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades' vice president of clinical quality services and a co-author of the report.
HealthGrades also sent an e-mail survey to CEOs and chief medical officers from the top-scoring hospitals, looking for best practices that drive quality. Respondents reported low rates of C-suite turnover and high rates of physician leadership in quality improvement initiatives. They also reported high levels of computerized physician-order entry use.