Swim with a friend. Never go hiking alone. There's safety in numbers. Travel with a group. All are expressions we've heard since our parents thought we were old enough to understand. What we didn't know then was that the same principles apply in healthcare delivery.
Welcome to our 12th annual 100 Top Hospitals supplement where each year we attempt to answer the question: What do high-performing hospitals do differently than lesser-performing hospitals? In previous supplements, we've looked at such variables as patient-safety strategies, new medical technologies, specific clinical practices, nurse-staffing ratios, the use of hospitalists, labor costs, avoidable medical errors, patient-satisfaction scores, ownership status and resource consumption.
For this issue, Truven Health Analytics, which puts together the annual list of 100 Top Hospitals, conducted an exclusive study at Modern Healthcare's request on the connection between clinical and financial performance and system membership. (Truven Health Analytics is the new name for Thomson Reuters' healthcare unit, which was bought by Veritas Capital.) Truven's researchers compared more than 1,600 system hospitals with almost 1,200 independent hospitals on 10 performance measures. We won't give away the findings in this introduction, but let's just say your parents were right. They always are.
A second piece of exclusive research reported in this supplement, however, does buck conventional wisdom. With healthcare disparities and readmission rates being two of the hottest topics in the industry, researchers compared the 30-day mortality and 30-day readmission rates of white patients and minority patients. Turns out, minorities have a lower mortality rate but a higher readmission rate. Read on to learn why.
Modern Healthcare reporter Beth Kutscher wrote the lead story on the system performance study. You can reach her at [email protected]. Former Modern Healthcare reporter and frequent contributor Linda Wilson wrote the secondary feature on the race study. You can reach Wilson at [email protected]. We thank them both for a job well done.