Healthcare News & Insights

Research says hospitals in healthcare systems provide better care

New research from Truven Health Analytics shows healthcare consolidation has more than just economic benefits.

In fact, hospitals that are part of a health system provide patients with higher quality, more cost efficient care than independent hospitals do.

In its analysis, Truven looked at nearly 3,000 hospitals, many of which appear on its lists of Top 100 Hospitals and 15 Top Health Systems.

Using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Truven ranked the hospitals’ performance on quality measures such as 30-day readmission rates, average lengths of stay, inpatient expense per discharge and patient perception of care.

The hospitals were judged based on both their current performance and their improvement over a five-year time span.

Based on this info, each participating hospital was given a score. While members of hospital systems averaged scores in the 54th percentile, average scores for independent facilities fell in the 45th percentile.

When looking at five-year improvement alone, there was less of a difference in scores, but hospitals that were part of a system still came out on top, achieving scores in the 52nd percentile, compared to an average score in the 48th percentile for independent hospitals.

Hospitals in systems received benefits their counterparts didn’t. Once hospitals are acquired by systems, they often receive access to resources they wouldn’t have on their own, including additional training for staff.

It’s also easier to see what’s going right – and what’s not – in a hospital that’s part of a system. Execs from each hospital can share strategies to boost the quality of patient care, while quickly working to correct issues in under-performing hospitals.

These benefits undoubtedly contribute to the fact that many hospitals in systems have been recognized as some of the best in the country.

Consider this: While only 1.63% of independent facilities made Truven’s list of 100 Top Hospitals, 4.73% of hospital system members appeared on the list.

So if your hospital is an independent facility, it’s likely worth it to forge partnerships with other hospitals since collaboration continues to be one of the best ways to improve patient care.

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