In a news conference announcing the Joint Commission's latest list of top performers in quality and safety, President Dr. Mark Chassin contrasted his organization's list with others that assign individual quality ratings or letter grades to hospitals.
Chassin called such efforts “misguided” because, he argued, hospitals' performance in one area has not been shown to correlate with performance in another. “Hospitals are good at some things and not others,” he said.
The Joint Commission recognized 620 hospitals (PDF) as top performers, up 53% from 405 hospitals last year. The designation is based on hospitals' performance during 2011 across 45 accountability measures in areas such as pneumonia care, heart-failure care and inpatient psychiatric services.
To make the list, hospitals had to receive a composite score of 95% or above on all of the accountability measures it reported to the Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based organization. Additionally, top-performing hospitals needed to meet or exceed the 95% performance mark on each of the accountability measures they reported.
"A 95% score means a hospital provided an evidence-based practice 95 times out of 100 opportunities to provide the practice," the Joint Commission said in its annual report on quality and safety. "Each accountability measure represents an evidence-based practice—for example, giving aspirin at arrival for heart-attack patients, giving antibiotics one hour before surgery and providing a home management plan for children with asthma."