It's paid off for the individual hospitals within the system and for the system as a whole. Scripps was named for the second time to Truven Health Analytics' list of 15 Top Health Systems in the large-system category. The fifth annual Truven analysis is based on quantitative data provided by the CMS' Hospital Compare and Medicare Provider Analysis and Review. Truven is the former healthcare unit of Thomson Reuters.
Truven looks at eight measures to determine which systems—five small, five medium and five large—had the best clinical performance, highest efficiencies and greatest patient satisfaction in the past year. Winners in the large system category (more than $1.5 billion in annual operating expenses), in addition to Scripps, included Advocate Health Care in Oak Brook, Ill., and OhioHealth in Columbus, both four-time winners; Banner Health of Phoenix, on Truven's list for a third time; and second-time honoree Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston.
Each of the five benchmark health systems performed better than their peers in areas such as rates of mortality, complications and readmissions; patient safety; average length of stay; core measures performance; and HCAHPS scores, or patients' ratings of their care.
Performance improvements at Scripps translated into reduced costs and increased revenue totaling $64 million in 2012. In the system's emergency departments, all patients are immediately assessed by a nurse and then directed to a bed or a “medical recliner,” depending on the severity of their condition. Within 30 minutes, on average, outpatients are seen simultaneously by a nurse and physician, which saves time and energy by eliminating the need for patients to repeat their stories to multiple care providers.
The ED best practices have led to shorter wait times, 21,000 more patients receiving treatment, fewer patients leaving the ED before treatment and less frequent occurrences of ambulance bypass, as well as $10 million in savings last year.
“Quality and cost management go absolutely hand in hand,” Van Gorder says.