Truven Top Hospitals Encourage Culture of Communication

If you’ve spent time in a hospital as a patient or with a loved one, then you know first hand that some hospitals provide better care than others. What are the top hospitals across the country doing “right” and what’s holding others back from reaching their full potential?Truven Top Hospitals Encourage Culture of Communication

Learn more about the Truven Top Hospital rankings and how top hospitals encourage a culture of communication.

The Purpose of Hospital Rankings

Annual hospital rankings are conducted by a number of different organizations — U.S. News and Consumer Reports to name a few. These organizations spend a lot of time and resources developing a comprehensive ranking system. However, interpreting their results isn’t always easy. More importantly for patients, choosing a top hospital is not always an option (especially when restricted by geography or out-of-pocket expenses).

Arguably, the goal is not to tell patients which hospitals to go to and which ones to avoid. Instead, rankings are a tool to identify which hospitals are providing the best results — with the goal of duplicating strong results by implementing similar processes and controls elsewhere.

Ultimately, the hope is that the hospital system across the United States will show improvement as hospital administrators learn and share best practices. That’s one of the goals of the Truven Health Analytics Top 100 Hospitals list.

Where the Top Hospitals Are

According to the Truven Health Analytics 100 Top Hospitals report (2016), the states with the highest representation of hospitals on the list include:

  • Ohio (11 hospitals in the top 100)
  • California (8 hospitals in the top 100)
  • Illinois (8 hospitals in the top 100)
  • Texas (8 hospitals in the top 100)
  • Michigan (7 hospitals in the top 100)
  • Wisconsin (7 hospitals in the top 100)

According to Jean Chenoweth, Truven’s senior vice president of performance improvement, “facilities across the U.S. are actively trying to meet the diverse needs of their patient populations.” Chenoweth told Modern Healthcare’s Sabriya Rice that “top performers have the right processes in place and a commitment to improvement, so they tend to find those solutions.”

What the Top Hospitals Across the U.S. Are Doing Well

Rice spoke to Dr. Robert Grossman, CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center and Mark Pawlak, vice president of ancillary services and quality at Holland (Mich.) Hospital. NYU Langone is being recognized for the first time on the Truven 100 Top Hospitals report (the first time in 15 years that a New York state hospital made the list), while Holland (Mich.) Hospital made the list for the 11th consecutive year in a row.

Grossman and Pawlak both told Rice that collaboration, communication and a culture of transparency were key reasons for their facility’s success. Both leaders also described their organizational culture as:

  • Accountable
  • Collaborative
  • Interactive
  • Open

In addition to this positive culture, Grossman mentioned the importance of having a clear strategic vision and goals, and a culture focused on performance that is accountable and celebrates success.

Which Initiatives Create the “Right” Organizational Culture

Surprisingly, these two top performing hospitals didn’t have to overhaul their teams or processes to create an organizational culture that fosters success.

“To get everyone focused on the same goals, Grossman began by updating the information technology infrastructure to allow for the creation of a comprehensive dashboard containing more than 500 quality metrics,” Rice explains. “With a few clicks of a mouse, employees can access a database that shows how well a department or individual clinician is performing on factors such as how long patients wait in the emergency department, how frequently they are readmitted after being sent home and where hospital-acquired infections are most prevalent.”

This one change helped NYU Langone Medical Center create a culture focused on performance where teams could collaborate and work together to improve their metrics rather than work in competing silos.

Grossman also created a monthly email memo to “facilitate discussions between thousands of faculty and staff about the hospital’s values and about ways to drive patient-centered care,” Rice reports.

“By making the vision clear, holding people accountable and celebrating success, morale rose and people became more invested in the institution.”

For Pawlak, “being interactive, accountable and open starts from the top and trickles down to staff, who now see it as an expectation to collaborate, not just across departments, but with local institutions such as nursing homes or rehab facilities.” According to Rice, executive leaders at Holland (Mich.) Hospital achieved this collaboration by “host[ing] open dialogues with staff during quarterly in-person question-and-answer sessions.”

“According to Truven, if all hospitals achieved the same results as the benchmark hospitals, nearly 104,000 inpatient lives could be saved, 48,400 additional patients could be complication free and over $2 billion in inpatient costs could be saved each year,” says Rice.

To achieve these positive, collaborative cultures both Holland (Mich.) Hospital and NYU Langone Medical Center made small but meaningful changes in their processes. These best practices seem very realistic for hospitals across the country to emulate.

What are some of the best practices of the top hospitals near you? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

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