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Top Hospitals Sharing Top Secrets: A Breakthroughs Presentation Recap*

Key takeaways:

  • Clinicians want to work in a top designated organization focused on helping provide high-quality patient-centered care.
  • Hospitals are leveraging designations and program data to improve employee morale, enhance recruiting and retention strategies and bolster patient and community perception.
  • PINC AI is working to inspire health systems and their leaders to pursue higher performance and add value for their patients and communities through the 100 Top Hospitals® Program.

Earlier this year, Premier acquired the 100 Top Hospitals® program because it aligns with Premier’s mission to improve the health of communities; integrates with existing PINC AI data, analytics and tech-enabled solutions; and allows for ongoing collaboration in quality and patient safety improvements.

The goal of the program is to inspire hospital and health system leaders to strive for higher performance and provide added value to the communities they serve by using objective, reliable and significant indicators of operational excellence.

Objective and honest data is needed to help hospitals and health systems identify areas of opportunity for improvement in patient safety and overall quality while managing recruitment and retention of staff. This is where the 100 Top Hospitals program and its nonbiased, publicly available data can help hospitals and health systems set goals and develop strategies to tackle four improvement areas, which were explored by a panel of experts at Premier’s 2023 Breakthroughs Conference and Exhibition.

The 100 Top Hospitals Program Breakthroughs Panel Discussion

During the panel discussion, Daniel DeBehnke, M.D., MBA, Vice President, Chief Physician Executive and Tara Bain, RN, BSN Vice President 100 Top Hospitals program, discussed the program with Marcy Vixie, RN, MSN, MBA, CPHQ, CPHRM, System Executive Director of Patient and Quality Safety, Kettering Health, Donna Sabol, RN, MSN, CPHQ Senior Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) and Ruth Fisher, MBA, Vice President, Heart and Vascular Service Line, Cone Health.

Panel topics included how these top hospitals and health systems were leveraging their designation in recruitment, retention, staff motivation, peer benchmarking, growth and identification of quality areas for improvement.

1. Improving Recruitment, Retention and System Growth
In today’s healthcare environment, many hospitals and health systems are facing workforce management challenges and a shortage of healthcare workers. As a way to tackle these challenges and worker shortages, some hospitals and health systems are leveraging their 100 Top Hospitals designation to improve their recruitment and retention of top clinical staff.

Panel participants discussed how they leveraged their 100 Top Hospitals program designations and the accompanying data in their retention and recruitment strategies.

To start, SLUHN referenced their recruitment tagline “Where You Train Matters,” denoting the importance of training at a top-quality designated organization to clinical staff.

“Clinicians want to work in a top designated organization and one that is focused on providing high-quality patient-centered care,” said Donna Sabol of SLUHN.

Adding to the discussion, Ruth Fisher of Cone Health spoke about how they leveraged program data to support health system and clinical service line growth and support improvements in patient safety, quality and outcomes. Recently, they embarked on a $200 million expansion and investment project in their cardiovascular services. Initially, leadership questioned if they should continue with the expansion based on cost, but the team utilized their 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals designation and overall program data to reaffirm the need for continual investment.

2. Motivating Staff

One study found that staff engagement improves outcomes for an organization. In this ever-changing world of healthcare, it can be challenging for leaders to motivate staff and keep them looped into organizational initiatives. During this panel, participants spoke briefly about their work to maintain staff motivation, engagement and morale.

SLUHN began the discussion by indicating how they held a celebration to highlight their teams’ accomplishment. They felt it was important to recognize their staff starting with cardiologists all the way down to supporting staff since everyone played an active role in achieving the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitalsdesignation.

Fisher spoke about how Cone Health’s teams begin every meeting with highlighting celebrations, and the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals designation is mentioned often as part of these celebrations to serve as a reminder of how much the teams have accomplished.

3. Identifying Quality Areas for Improvement
Hospitals and health systems put a lot of time into identifying opportunities for improvement from reducing length of stay and readmissions to improving patient care and outcomes. Panel participants discussed some of the ways their teams utilize the 100 Top Hospitals designations and data to identify opportunities.

Kettering Health’s Marcy Vixie started things off by mentioning how they value the designation and use it as a benchmarking tool.

“We pay a lot of attention to the 100 Top program data. It is our number one benchmarking tool and outside review for comparison,” said Vixie. “Being a 100 Top Hospital is a goal for each one of our hospitals at Kettering Health. The designation is viewed as a reflection of the top-quality care provided and is considered a win every single time.”

4. Responding to Quality Dips, Dashboards and Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking

Clinical teams know they cannot be winners all the time, but they always strive for the most optimal patient care and outcomes. SLUHN’s Donna Sabol indicated that reviewing dips in quality measures gives her teams a boost of energy to figure out the reason for the dips, how to correct course, maintain high performance and provide high-quality patient care.

Cone Health’s Ruth Fisher chimed in and indicated, “It’s great to be a part of a winning team and have outside accolades proving you’re a winning team.” “When you’re not a winning team, it just gives you more incentive to get back on top. Folks want to be the best and they strive for the best.”

Taking a different stance, Kettering Health’s Marcy Vixie, spoke about how her teams respond to a dip in quality standings with the creation of a task force that reviews coding, documentation and clinical care to identify areas for improvement. They also created their own dashboards to review trends in outcomes and review monthly data in improvements. Vixie said: “These dashboards keep the teams motivated to provide great care, every day to every patient.”

In addition to being able to spot quality concerns, peer-to-peer benchmarking is also important to hospitals and health systems as they strive to understand their own performance, identify gaps and improvement opportunities as well as highlight peer performance they could emulate.

Sabol spoke about the importance of SLUHN’s efforts to submit data to Premier’s QualityAdvisor, their system scorecards and how they align with their top decile achievement goals.

During the panel presentation, Vixie shared how proud she and Kettering Health leadership were of their cardiology team and their journey towards achieving the designation. Vixie indicated the entire cardiology team came together to set their five-year goals and everyone agreed the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital designation gave an objective and balanced scorecard to inform overall goals and strategy.

She stated that cardiologists are sticklers about data, and her team was no exception in wanting the most recent data reflective of their work, quality improvements and overall patient safety and outcomes, which is why they accepted the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital designation as their true North Star.

In 2019, Vixie indicated the team saw an improvement of 39 percentage points, and in 2020, the team moved another 20 percentage points to achieve a 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital designation and has been on the list ever since.

“Our whole cardiac team got together, all the surgeons and the cardiologists, and I asked them where they wanted to be in five years,” said Vixie. “They replied with ‘at the top,’ and so we made the 50 Top Cardiovascular designation our North Star, worked to achieve the designation, and six years later, we’re still maintaining that designation."

100 Top Hospitals Program and the Future

During the panel, participants discussed the 100 Top Hospital programs and the transitions over the years. Sabol spoke briefly about what it means to SLUHN now that Premier’s PINC AI has acquired the program.

Heading into the future, there is no doubt that the 100 Top Hospitals Program is poised for a bright future. It’s accessible to everyone and utilizes nonbiased, publicly available data to compile hospital and health system reports in one-year and five-year comparisons. These reports consist of risk, wage and severity adjust data and put hospitals in cohorts for comparison to select those worthy of the designations as a 15 Top Health System, 100 Top Hospital and 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital.

Premier’s PINC AI team shares these reports and works with hospitals and health systems to review the results, identify opportunities for change and can help teams implement evidence-based strategies for improvement.

This fall, the PINC AI 100 Top Hospitals program is planning to announce the 100 Top Hospitals followed by the 15 Top Health Systems in early winter, so stay tuned!

*PINC AI 100 Top Hospitals presented this panel discussion at the Premier 2023 Breakthroughs Conference in June at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Participants heard about the 100 Top Hospital programs and how these hospitals and health systems have leveraged the designations to motivate staff, enhance recruitment and retention efforts, and aide in quality and patient safety improvements.

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