This is the 16th time Advocate Lutheran General Hospital has been recognized, which ties it for the most times any hospital has been listed. Last September, Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem announced plans to merge and create a $7 billion academic-suburban regional mega-system. NorthShore's Evanston Hospital is the only other 16-time winner, though it wasn't on the list this year.
“It's two strong organizations coming together. That kind of collaboration can only mean good things for quality and safety,” said Dr. Leo Kelly, vice president of medical management for Advocate Lutheran. “We now have the opportunity to learn from each other.”
A total of 27 states had at least one top-performing hospital, according to the Truven data. While Midwestern states have dominated the list since 2002, California hospitals “came roaring back,” Chenoweth said.
Fourteen of this year's top performers were from California, more than from any other state. Ohio and Illinois had the second-largest number of hospitals represented on the list, with 10 each. “There is a very high degree of focus on quality now, and it shows,” Chenoweth said.
Stanford Health Care was listed for the second time after a two-decade gap. Dr. Raj Behal, the hospital's chief quality officer, said they have focused on innovations to boost quality and value. For example, Stanford piloted a program to send medical students to the homes of high-risk heart-failure patients. These visits revealed several challenges for patients in following post-discharge recommendations, including lack of transportation and confusion over prescriptions. “It was an eye-opener,” Behal said. “Those kinds of (insights) can never come out of databases.”
There were also 15 hospitals on the Truven list for the first time this year. Five of them also received Truven's Everest Award for demonstrating rapid improvement from 2009 to 2013.
One of those Everest winners, Little Company of Mary Hospital, Evergreen Park, Ill., says it has launched improvement initiatives across a number of nationally reported quality measures. To tackle 30-day readmissions, its leaders implemented a care-transition program in 2013, hiring a nurse navigator to help prepare high-risk patients for the transition to their home environment. And in May 2014, the hospital launched a nurse-driven initiative to reduce catheter-associated urinary-tract infections by limiting the use of catheters. The quality team also works with the internal communications team to announce or disseminate these patient-safety campaigns.