Joint Commission releases its annual list of top performing hospitals

Top performers grow by 77 percent
By Kelsey Brimmer
10:38 AM
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Mark R. Chassin

The Joint Commission’s Annual Report on Quality and Safety 2013, shows that 33 percent of all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals that reported accountability measure data for 2012 ranked as top performing hospitals using evidence-based care processes.

Making the cut were 27 Kaiser hospitals and 110 HCA hospitals. Also highlighted for top performance were two mental health institutes: Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute, in Nashville, and Western Mental Health Institute, in Bolivar, Tenn.

The Joint Commission listed 1,099 top performing hospitals, gauged by key quality measures when it released its report during a webcast Oct. 30. The top performing hospitals represent a 77 percent increase from last year in the number of hospitals recognized as top performers. Additionally, of those top performers, 424 organizations have achieved the distinction for two years in a row, and 182 have achieved it every year since the program’s inception in 2011.

[See also: Joint Commission spotlights 620 top performing hospitals.]

The Joint Commission bases its top performing designation on a hospital’s accountability measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma care, inpatient psychiatric services, venous thromboembolism care, stroke care, and immunization – measures that are data-driven and supported by health information technology.

The top performing hospitals must provide data on four measure sets, achieve a 95 percent performance or above for all the reported accountability measures, and score at least a 95 percent in the reported accountability measures with at least 30 cases.

"By tracking the data found in each year’s edition of this report, you can see how results considered outstanding several years ago are now achieved by almost every Joint Commission-accredited hospital in America today," said Mark R. Chassin, president and CEO of The Joint Commission, during the webcast. "More than half of Joint Commission-accredited hospitals have reached or have nearly reached Top Performer distinction, showing that we are approaching a time in which consistent excellence in hospital performance on these important quality measures is the new normal."

[See also: Joint Commission safety goals should be part of EHR certification.]

As Chassin sees it, "This means patients are getting better care thanks to the shared commitment by hospitals to using data and proven quality improvement methods to always do the right thing and improve quality and safety."

The report also shows that hospitals have significantly improved the quality of care provided to heart attack, pneumonia, surgical care, children's asthma care, inpatient psychiatric, VTE, and stroke patients, according to composite accountability measure results, which sums up the results of all individual accountability measures into a single summary score. In 2012, Joint Commission-accredited hospitals achieved a 97.6 percent composite accountability measure performance on 18.3 million opportunities to perform care processes closely linked to positive patient outcomes, which is an improvement of 15.8 percentage points since 2002, when hospitals achieved 81.8 percent composite performance on 957,000 opportunities, according to the newest report.

Next year, the Joint Commission hopes to further improve hospital performance by increasing the required number of selected core measure sets for which a hospital must submit data for from four to six. This will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Download the report here.

Find a list of top performers by state here.