Axial Exchange ranks Florida hospitals with new Patient Engagement Index

Touts new way to grade hospitals in the post-reform era

Axial Exchange, a developer of patient engagement technologies, unveiled this week its Patient Engagement Index, which ranks U.S. hospitals based on how involved their patient communities are with their own care.

The first index ranks just the top 74 hospitals in Florida – which was chosen, Axial officials say, because its demographics are a "bellwether" for the rest of the nation – based on independent third-party metrics. Rankings for other U.S. regions will be published in the coming months.

"Patient engagement matters to hospital success and to our nation as a whole," said Joanne Rohde, CEO of Axial Exchange, in a press statement. "It's time we put a stake in the ground that patient engagement is core to the quality of health care and the success, both financially and in terms of outcomes, of healthcare providers."

Patient satisfaction and engagement are key components of payment reform, accounting for nearly one-third of the score for Medicare's Value-Based Purchasing program, say Axial officials.

They point to a recent Commonwealth Funds-supported study showed that patients with the highest engagement had significantly lower costs and that the least engaged patients in the study generated 21 percent more health costs.

"Patient engagement is important because management of chronic illnesses involves action by both patient and provider," said Paul Y. Takahashi, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and a board advisor to Axial Exchange, in a statement. "Patients should feel empowered to be part of the medical plan, because research shows that active engagement can lead to improved outcomes and increased satisfaction."

The PEI ranks 74 major Florida hospital systems based on three metrics that research indicate can lower costs or improve outcomes:

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