Christiana Care has again secured a place among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals in the major teaching hospital category by Truven Health Analytics, and is one of just 17 hospitals across the nation to win the 100 Top Hospitals Everest Award for being among the select few to set national benchmarks for the fastest long-term improvement among health systems over the last five years.
“This honor is a very special recognition to every one of our staff — our physicians, nurses, all the people at Christiana Care, including our board and trustees, and our patient and family advisers — who are committed to partnering with those we are privileged to serve,” said Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, Christiana Care president and CEO. “This award is a reflection of our steadfast commitment to providing value-driven care that is affordable, high quality and innovative.”
Researchers based the 100 Top Hospitals on public information: Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, and core measures and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website. Hospitals do not apply to be a Top 100 hospital, and winners do not pay to market the honor.
Only 15 major teaching hospitals earned 100 Top Hospitals ranking. Christiana Care is the only hospital in the entire Philadelphia region — and the only one Delaware — to make the prestigious list.
Best of the best
According to Virginia Collier, M.D., MACP, Hugh R. Sharp Jr. Chair of Medicine, the Everest award mirrors progressive improvements on the core measures monitored internally by the health system’s own Clinical Excellence Committee.
“All indicators demonstrate that the multidisciplinary Value Improvement Teams are taking the responsibility seriously to understand the measures and improve care,” Dr. Collier said. “This award is yet another reflection of the hard work our physicians and staff put into caring for our patients and securing our place among the best of the best.”
The award singles out top hospitals among the nearly 3,000 evaluated for excellence in patient safety, patient engagement, affordability, adherence to clinical standards of care and average patient stay.
For Sharon Anderson, BSN, MS, RN, FACHE, senior vice president for Quality, Patient Safety and Population Health Management and director for Quality and Safety for the Christiana Care Value Institute, it’s a validation of Christiana Care’s transformative culture of quality and safety that engages the entire organization in improving the care delivered to patients, their families and the community.
“It is the staff on our patient care units, in procedural areas and in physician practices throughout our system who made this achievement possible with their dedication to creating a safe culture, achieving high reliability and leveraging technology to deliver the highest-quality, safest care.”
Commitment to transparency
Diane P. Talarek, RN, MA, NE-BC, chief nursing officer, added that the award is the direct result of the outstanding work by Christiana Care’s various Value Improvement Teams — those at the unit level caring for patients and their families every day. A commitment to transparency via unit and population-based report cards, she said, provides a forum for staff to contribute toward improving care.
“We’ve empowered people at the front line to make changes — for example, in making sure patients have the information they need when they leave the hospital to manage their medications and self-care and help avoid unnecessary readmissions,” Talarek said. “Working together, our care is ultimately better.”
Truven Health reports that 100 Top Hospitals outperform their peers by demonstrating excellence and operating effectively across all functional areas. Based on comparisons between the study winners and a peer group of similar high-volume hospitals that were not winners, they found that if all hospitals performed at Christiana Care’s level:
- Nearly 126,500 additional lives could be saved.
- Nearly 109,000 additional patients could be complication-free.
- $1.8 billion in inpatient costs could be saved.
- The typical patient could be released from the hospital a half-day sooner.
- Episode-of-illness expense would be 2 percent lower than the peer median.
The analysis is based on Medicare patients. If the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact would be even greater.
Moving the needle
The award recognizes Christiana Care among the 100 Top Hospitals that have achieved excellence in 11 areas:
- Patient safety.
- Patient satisfaction.
- Post-discharge mortality for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia.
- Post-discharge readmissions for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and hip and knee surgery.
- Adherence to clinical standards of care.
- Medical complications.
- Average patient stay.
- Medicare spend per beneficiary.
Shawn R. Smith, MBA, vice president of Patient Experience, highlighted innovations that are moving the needle on patient experience scores, which are a key component of this award. Examples include Christiana Care’s new partnership with the University of Delaware Lerner College of Business for the nation’s first accredited Patient Experience Academy; new technology that allows nurses and leaders to collect real-time data and address needs important to patients and families on the spot, and a systemwide commitment to embedding patient and family advisers on every patient care committee.
“The tremendous energy around advancing The Christiana Care Way through these initiatives has clearly improved our indicators in patient experience over time,” Smith said. “It starts at the top and permeates throughout the organization. Employees are enthusiastically engaging in these unique opportunities, and holding themselves — and each other — accountable for providing the safest, best care experience for our patients and their family members. This award speaks to that commitment.”
Continually getting better
According to Thomas L. Corrigan, MBA, chief financial officer, the financial improvement component of the award stems in great part from the guidance of the Position Review Committee and use of Lean Six Sigma and Juran principles in order to help departments ensure that they have the right staff at the right places and times and often provide better care at a lower cost.
“More is not always better for the patient,” Corrigan said. “Examples include the nationally recognized redesign of our telemetry ordering process in non-intensive-care settings; participation in the Choosing Wisely initiative, which promotes conversations between patients and their physicians regarding unnecessary tests and procedures; and reductions in lab tests that help reduce unnecessary care.
“This award from an independent party is clearly a very valued designation. What it really tells me, though, is that the significant changes we are making have resulted in real progress compared to other health systems in the U.S. and improved clinical care for our community.”
According to Truven Health, the 100 Top Hospitals is the most comprehensive, rigorous study of its kind, incorporating public data; proprietary, risk-adjusted and peer-reviewed methodologies; and key performance metrics to arrive at an objective balanced scorecard measuring current performance and long-term improvement.
About Christiana Care Health System
Christiana Care Health System is one of the country’s largest health care systems, ranking as the 22nd leading hospital in the nation and 12th on the East Coast in terms of admissions. The health system includes The Christiana Care Medical Group, a network of primary care physicians, medical and surgical specialists, as well as home health care, preventive medicine and rehabilitation services.
A not-for-profit teaching hospital affiliated with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Christiana Care is recognized as a regional center for excellence in cardiology, cancer and women’s health services. Christiana Care has an extensive range of outpatient services, and through Christiana Care Quality Partners, Christiana Care works closely with its medical staff to achieve better health, better access to care and lower cost.
Christiana Care is home to Delaware’s only Level I trauma center caring for adults and children, the highest capability center and the only one of its kind between Philadelphia and Baltimore. Christiana Care also features a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, the only delivering hospital in Delaware that offers the highest level of non-surgical care to the most critically ill newborns. Christiana Care includes two hospitals, Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Hospital, with 1,100 patient beds.