Insights on Today's Healthcare Consumer

What We Can Learn from the Best and Worst Rated Hospitals of 2015

Posted by Brent Walker on Fri, Nov 13, 2015

Hospitals that are considered leaders of innovation generally pull in top ratings. No surprise there. But if you were ranked as one of the worst hospitals in the country, what would you do? When faced with just that scenario, several poorly-rated healthcare organizations actually turned the bad reviews into an incentive to drive improvement. Clearly, there are lessons to be learned from both the first and the worst when it comes to disruptive innovation in healthcare. 

Taking Stock Spurs Transformation

Using CDC data collected from 2013 through 2014 on MRSA, C. diff infections, surgical-site infections, urinary tract infections and central-line catheter-associated infections, the Consumers Union—an advocacy under the auspices of Consumer Reports—identified 12 hospitals with the poorest performance. Dubbed “The Low-Down Dozen,” the hospitals found themselves in an unwelcome spotlight thanks to a social media campaign. According to a recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review, some of those healthcare organizations spoke out, providing statements to Consumer Reports to clarify where they are now compared to last year. Three of the most telling examples of how the bad reviews became catalysts for change include:

  1. Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany, Indiana contends that a change to higher-sensitivity testing improved detection for C. diff, but also resulted in poorer performance numbers compared to hospitals using the common, but less-sensitive testing. Still, the hospital reports making changes since the study: adding more Infection Preventionists to its staff, improving on its education, training and auditing of isolation precautions with its creative “Scrub-the-Hub Campaign.” In a written statement, Floyd Memorial explains that since the study, it has nearly eliminated MRSA bloodstream infections.
  2. In Marysville, California, Fremont-Rideout Health Group took a slightly different approach. They did incorporate new protocols to improve patient safety and reduce infections, but they also disrupted from the inside, engaging a new director of infection in 2014. Since then, they’ve reduced infections by more than 50 percent.
  3. Petersburg General Hospital in Florida also changed its infection-control practices with an aggressive goal of zero infections. Continuous monitoring and periodic evaluations of these practices has led to a significant improvement in catheter-urinary tract infections, which the Consumer Reports study had specifically called out. The latest data for both the first and second quarters of 2015 shows zero infections.

The lessons to be learned? Disruptive innovation in healthcare does not have to be big to be effective. By implementing smart, measured changes, these hospitals are making improvements that will lead to more positive outcomes for patients.

Healthcare Leaders Inspire Change

Unlike the “Low-Down Dozen,” the Becker’s Hospital Review list of 100 best hospitals showcases organizations at the top of their game with each offering “a strong foundation of high-quality care, stellar credentials and a focus on doing what is right for the patients in its community.” Inclusion on the list was based on a compilation of hospital ranking data from several reputable sources. Three fine representatives from the list include: 

  1. The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio is well-known for its commitment to “patient care, research and education.” It is also making a name for itself in terms of innovation within its hospital walls—and without thanks to its corporate venture organization, Cleveland Clinic Innovations, which has planted seeds for more than 75 companies since 2005. Just last month, the Cleveland Clinic hosted its annual Medical Innovations Summit, focused on neuroscience this year.  
  2. As the fourth busiest children’s hospital in the country, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio supports innovation at its Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice. The hospital’s website indicates that researchers at the Center are focused on testing new health service delivery systems to improve care for at-risk children, innovate existing communication technologies and test those technologies for cost-effectiveness.
  3. In New Orleans, Ochsner Medical Center is raising the bar on innovation, literally, with the O Bar, an Apple-inspired, in-person center where healthcare consumers can come in to learn about health and wellness apps. The hospital is also routinely featured on the “Most-Wired” list, as we’ve noted in the past.

As the introduction to the “100 Great Hospitals” list points out, “They are home to many medical and scientific breakthroughs, provide best-in-class patient care and are stalwarts of their communities, serving as research hubs or local anchors of wellness.” For these organizations, disruptive innovation in healthcare could well be considered the norm. Each organization is focused on not just implementing healthcare reform, but also on shaping the future of healthcare.

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Brent Walker

Written by: Brent Walker

As Chief Marketing Officer, Brent's primary responsibilities include leading marketing strategy and execution for c2b solutions, development of c2b solutions' proprietary consumer segmentation model and insights products, research on healthcare consumers’ motivations and behaviors, and providing marketing guidance to c2b solutions clients.

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