University of Chicago Hospitals tops national survey

February 28, 2006

The University of Chicago Hospitals has been named as one of the top 100 hospitals in the country by Evanston, IL-based Solucient, a healthcare information company.

Now in its 13th year, the Solucient study examines changing performance levels in U.S. hospitals across five critical performance areas: outcome of care, patient safety, efficiency, financial performance, and growing community service. The scores are based on nine measures: risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted complications, patient safety, growth in patient volume, severity-adjusted average length of stay, expense per adjusted discharge, profit from operations, cash-to-debt ratio, and tangible assets per discharge.

Winning hospitals, according to Solucient, "display balanced organizational performance--an ability to provide sustainable and reliable health care services to their communities." Winners of the 100 Top Hospitals National award for 2005 were also "less likely to experience adverse outcomes than peer hospitals."

The list, announced by Solucient on February 27, 2006, identifies benchmark-setting hospitals in five categories: major teaching hospitals (15), teaching hospitals (25), large community hospitals (20), medium community hospitals (20) and small community hospitals (20).

"These top 100 hospitals react quicker to challenges than their peers, and they focus on all aspects of care, not just one," Jean Chenoweth, Solucient's executive director of the 100 Top Hospitals program told Modern Healthcare.

"The 100 Top hospitals are different from their peers for several reasons,” Chenoweth said. “They have a higher case mix, lower cost per case, and higher patient volume, yet fewer full-time-equivalent employees. They … are better at matching staffing levels to changing acuity levels, saving money. They have a higher proportion of registered nurses and use intensive-care units more often. They have significantly more high-severity patients in their emergency departments than peers and admit a higher percentage of those patients.”

"These hospitals are strong organizations that can perform across all areas: quality, safety, financial, efficiency, and growth," Chenoweth told MHC. "The study measures organization-wide performance that touches every employee."

The University of Chicago was the only Chicago hospital named to the list in any category. Two other hospitals from the metropolitan area, Evanston Northwestern (Evanston) and Advocate Lutheran General (Park Ridge), were included on the list of the top major teaching hospitals in the United States. Five Illinois community hospitals also made the list.

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