HealthGrades ranks top 50 hospitals for 2011

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Use of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems is one key factor to providing superior clinical quality, CEOs at HealthGrades 50 Best Hospitals for 2011 reported.

According to HealthGrades, an online healthcare quality rating and services company, the hospitals on its list have demonstrated superior and sustained clinical quality over an 11-year time period, based on an analysis of more than 140 million Medicare patient records for 26 medical procedures and conditions.

To be recognized with this distinction, hospitals must have had risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates that were in the top 5 percent in the nation for the most consecutive years. On average, patients treated at America’s 50 Best Hospitals had a nearly 30 percent lower risk of death and 3 percent lower rate of complications.

HealthGrades' study found that if all U.S. hospitals had performed at this level, more than a half million deaths of patients on Medicare could have been prevented between 1999 and 2009.

[See also: HealthGrades study: 'Unacceptably wide gap' between top peforming hospitals, others]

“As our nation searches for a solution to providing Americans with access to high quality healthcare at an affordable price, these hospitals are setting the standard, demonstrating that consistent, sustainable clinical excellence is achievable,” said Rick May, HealthGrades' vice president of clinical quality services and co-author of the study.

The hospitals on HealthGrades' list are in 28 cities in 19 states. The West Palm Beach, Fla. area leads the nation with six of these top-performing hospitals. Chicago and Cleveland come in next with four recognized hospitals each.

[See also: HealthGrades ranks top 50 cities for hospital care]

For the first time, HealthGrades also conducted a survey of CEOs from America's 50 Best Hospitals to find out what made them stand apart. Besides CPOE other factors that CEOs named were:

  • transparency of clinical quality outcomes,
  • positive operating margins,
  • above average tenure of executive team, and
  • investment in physician feedback and leadership development.

Click on the next page to see HealthGrades 50 Best Hospitals list for 2011: