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December 5, 2023

PINC AI™ 15 Top Health Systems™ Program Study Reveals Key Insights to Help Improve Hospital and Health System Performance*

Key takeaways:

  • The 15 Top Health Systems™study reveals winning hospitals had 21 percent fewer deaths and 5 percent fewer patients with complications.
  • According to the study, if all health systems performed as well as the 15 Top Health Systems™, when extrapolated to all Medicare inpatients, more than 200,000 additional lives could be saved in-hospital, among other positive impacts.
  • The PINC AI™ 15 Top Health Systems™ are consistently achieving top performance, setting industry benchmarks and delivering healthcare value to patients, communities and payers.

Since 2009, the 15 Top Health Systems™program has conducted an annual, quantitative study that highlights the nation’s top-performing health systems and innovative leaders, showcasing the highest achievements on a balanced scorecard.

It provides an objective measure and benchmarks of health system performance overall and offers insight into the ability of a system’s member hospitals to deliver consistent top performance.

The 15 Top Health Systems™ program aligns with the PINC AI™ 100 Top Hospitals® Program and existing PINC AI™ solutions. The program’s goal is to inspire hospital and health system leaders to strive for higher performance and provide added value to the communities they serve.

Selecting 2023’s 15 Top Health System™ Winners

The 15 Top Health Systems™ are being honored for outcomes, efficiency and patient satisfaction based on publicly available, national, unbiased data. The study selected 15 top health systems from 361 individual health systems studied. To be eligible for the PINC AI™ 15 Top Health Systems™ designation, health systems needed at least two hospitals in which they held a parent or related organization relationship.

The study relies on transparent, publicly available data from Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MEDPAR), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Care Compare, Medicare cost reports, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction scores and other data from 2021 and 2022 to select health systems who consistently deliver healthcare value to patients, communities and payers.

To analyze health system performance, the study includes data for short-term, acute care, nonfederal U.S. hospitals, as well as cardiac, orthopedic, women’s and critical access hospitals (CAHs) that are part of the health systems.

The selection process included:

  1. Building the database of health systems, including special selection and exclusion criteria.
  2. Identifying which hospitals are part of health systems.
  3. Aggregating the patient-level and hospital-level data from system hospitals and calculating a set of performance measures at the system level.
  4. Classifying health systems into comparison groups based on total operating expense.
  5. Ranking systems on each of the performance measures by comparison group.
  6. Determining the 15 top performers (five in each comparison group) from the health systems’ overall rankings, based on their aggregate performance (sum of individual weighted measure ranks).

PINC AI™ 15 Top Health Systems™Study Findings

Recognition as one of the 15 Top Health Systems™ demonstrates an ongoing commitment to prioritized leadership, clinical excellence and patient-centered care. Compared to their peer health systems, the organizations included on the 15 Top Health Systems™ list had better results on performance indicators intended to measure clinical outcomes, operational efficiency and patient experience. These include lower inpatient mortality rates, fewer patient complications, fewer healthcare-associated infections and lower 30-day readmission rates.

The study revealed differences between award winners and their non-winning peers, where the winners:

  • Had 21 percent fewer deaths than non-winning health systems.
  • Had 5 percent fewer patients with complications.
  • Delivered care that resulted in 21 percent fewer healthcare associated infections (HAIs).
  • Had lower 30-day mortality and 30-day hospital-wide readmission rates.
  • Sent patients home sooner.
  • Scored higher on patient ratings of their overall hospital experience.

Our study projections also indicate that if the benchmarks of performance established by this year’s winners were achieved by all health systems in the U.S., the following could be true for the 2023 study year:

  • More than 200,000 additional lives could be saved in-hospital.
  • More than 177,000 additional patients could be complication-free.
  • More than 20 percent fewer infections would be acquired by hospital patients.

This analysis is based on applying the difference between study winners and nonwinners to Medicare patient counts. If the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact could be even greater.

Leveraging PINC AI™ Data and Insights to Improve Performance

All hospitals and health systems, whether they achieve a 15 Top Health System™ designation or not, need data to identify areas for improvement in clinical, operational and financial performance without sacrificing patient experience. They typically know their own data inside and out but aren’t able to nationally compare or benchmark their performance against similar peer hospitals.

The PINC AI™ 15 Top Health Systems™ program provides winning and non-winning hospitals with their risk, wage and severity-adjusted data compared against a cohort of their peers for the study year and in a five-year trended report. This data adds context and depth to a hospitals’ performance information, allowing them to prioritize improvement efforts.

This data, coupled with PINC AI™ solutions, can help hospitals and health systems improve performance by:

  1. Supporting clinical efficiency: PINC AI™Clinical Intelligence helps hospitals and health systems turn evidence into action with analytics and benchmarking on clinical performance through leveraging AI-enabled clinical surveillance and decision support.
  2. Improving margins:PINC AI™Collaboratives, PINC AI™Consulting and other PINC AI™ solutions can help guide hospital and health systems with a data-driven approach to identifying and executing the best evidence-based practices for sustainable change in financial performance, supply chain resiliency and workforce management.
  3. Supporting quality reporting:PINC AI™ Quality Improvement solutions can help hospitals and health systems satisfy reporting and comply with national program requirements like the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Hospital Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) to name a few.

Striving for the Top

Hospitals and health systems strive to provide high level value of care across multiple medical services and maintain patient satisfaction at a reduced cost. Achieving top rankings in quality and safety can help a hospital earn the trust and loyalty of their patients.A top designation can affirm a hospitals’ efforts in quality improvement and prove their merit to those who entrust them with their lives.

Health systems working to achieve a top designation can start by accessing their data derived from the 15 Top Health Systems™study. Connect with the PINC AI™ team to review your data and identify areas for improvement by completing this form.

*Study Methodology
The 15 Top Health Systems™ quantitative study is basedon clinical, operational, financial, and patient perception-of-care measures that form a balanced scorecard. This 2023 health systems study includes eight measures that provide an objective comparison of health system performance using publicly available data. The scorecard results are divided into two separate sections that graphically illustrate:

A health system’s performance and improvement versus peer health systems.

Cross-system performance alignment of system hospitals.

The study is designed to provide a view of health system performance across multiple dimensions: how they stand compared to peers and high performers (whole-system performance), where they stand in the evolution of their own cultures of performance improvement (relative long-term improvement and rate of improvement), and the achievement of cross-system performance alignment (system hospital performance). For complete methodology details, please review the final study here.

Eligible health systems are determined based on final scorecard performance. To account for differences in scale among health systems, the study categorizes health systems into three groups: large, medium and small health systems.

For more on this topic:

  • Download the complete PINC AI™ 15 Top Health Systems™ program study.
  • Learn how the PINC AI™ 100 Top Hospitals® program can assist your hospital or health system in quality improvement, benchmarking and strategy development.

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Tara Bain, RN, BSN

Vice President, PINC AI™ 100 Top Hospitals® Program, Premier

Bain leads the 100 Top Hospitals® program which analyzes publicly available data in a non-biased, transparent way to help hospitals improve performance and recognize the top performing hospitals nationwide that are worthy of the designations as a 15 Top Health System™, 100 Top Hospitals® and 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital™.