Report: Mercy among top 5 health systems in US
Shorter hospital stays, fewer complications and better patient results are just a few metrics used to rank Mercy as one of the top five large health systems in the nation, alongside Mayo Clinic, according to a recent report.
The 2018 Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems study recognizes five large, five medium and five small systems from 338 health systems and 2,422 hospitals across the nation.
This is the third consecutive year that the Mercy health system has received the honor of being in the top five large systems in the country, out of 113 systems considered.
The other top ranked health systems include the Mayo Foundation in Minnesota, Sentara Healthcare in Virginia, St. Luke's Health System in Idaho and UCHealth in Colorado.
"By putting rigorous plans in place, we've been able to achieve improvements such as reducing common health-care associated infections like C-diff (Clostridium difficile) by more than 60 percent," said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy, in a statement. "This means we can prevent unnecessary suffering for our patients and get them home healthier and sooner."
The focus on health-care associated infections is a new metric in the study this year because of its impact on patient care — including reducing deaths — as well as lowering the cost of care.
Mercy's efforts tied to C-diff reduction have led to significantly higher prevention and earlier detection and have resulted in avoiding more than $5 million in health care costs from 2016 to the present, according to the hospital's statement.
Watson Health, an IBM company formerly known as Truven Health, conducted the study to combine analysis of individual hospital performance metrics into system-level data, identifying the best-performing health systems in the nation. This annual, quantitative scorecard uses independent research and public data sources.
Health systems do not apply for consideration, and winners do not pay to market their award.
Mercy outperformed peers in the following ways:
- Saved more lives and caused fewer patient complications
- Lower cost of care
- Readmitted patients less frequently
- Shorter wait times in emergency departments
- Shorter hospital stays
- Better patient safety
- Higher patient satisfaction
Mercy was among the first health care organizations in the U.S. to have an integrated electronic health record connecting all points of care, according to its statement. With the electronic health record, clinical best practices can be hard-wired into the system, resulting in triggers that warn of possible complications at early stages, as well as data that can help reduce variation and improve compliance.
Mercy has more than 2,000 integrated physicians, bringing primary care and specialty doctors together.
Specialty councils — comprising physicians, nurses and clinicians — represent more than 40 areas of medicine, from heart surgery to the delivery of babies.
"Whenever you travel in Mercy's service area, the quality measures this award is based on means you can count on getting the very best care," said Jon Swope, interim president of Mercy Springfield Communities and president of Mercy Central Communities, in a statement. "Whether it's your neighborhood clinic or the nearest Mercy hospital, our caregivers and coworkers are among the best in the nation in getting and keeping you well."
A health system must contain at least two short-term, general, acute care hospitals to be part of the study, according to the Watson Health website. Large health systems like Mercy also must have total annual operating expenses of at least $1.85 billion.