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Top 50 Heart Hospital

October 01, 2012

The physicians and staff created the "International Heart Institute Experience Initiative" to challenge themselves to enhance their performance in service and quality. Meeting three times a month to discuss cases and analyze data for improvement, the cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists work with nurses, pharmacists, quality-improvement experts and other hospital employees to continually refine performance on clinical outcomes. Everyone was at the table to discuss how to improve the data. In addition, the physicians work as a team--the hospital employs the physicians in a group practice, which facilitates collaboration, not competition for patients.  

Thomas McGuire, Administrator for the International Heart Institute (IHI) says, “This award is a result of a focused effort to improving quality, but more importantly, it is about advancing patient care.  We won’t stop at being satisfied as one of the top 50 heart hospitals. We will continue our work to improve the quality of patient care." The study scored the performance of more than 1000 hospitals on 22 measures including quality, efficiency and safety.

The study analyzed outcomes for patients with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and percutaneous coronary interventions such as angioplasties. Top hospitals out-performed peer hospitals on all measures, but some of the largest percentage differences were in risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates.

"Even though our heart-failure readmissions are some of the lowest in the country, we continue to refine the way we work with patients, " said cardiologist Joe Knapp, MD. St. Pat’s is evaluating a proposal to develop a heart-failure clinic in which physical therapists, dieticians, social workers and other healthcare workers would help patients address lifestyle issues, such as sedentary behavior and poor food choices.  

“Heart-failure patients are already seen by a primary-care physician who focuses on medication management, but there is an awful lot in the management of these people with chronic conditions that is not so much pharmacy-specific as it is lifestyle specific,” said Joe Knapp, MD.  

Truven Health Analytics—formerly Thomson Reuters—ranks heart programs using data from Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) and Hospital Compare.

The 50 Top Hospitals surpassed other hospitals by indicating:

  • Better survival rates for bypass surgery patients
  • Fewer complications
  • Fewer patients readmitted within 30 days of admission
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Lower costs

"Achieving this award demonstrates the leadership and teamwork of the physicians and staff of IHI. The Institute identified clinical standards and created the IHI Experience Initiative to enhance our focus on service and quality. In the past, we've repeatedly achieved the 100 Top Hospital award. But, through the diligent efforts and commitment to excellence, the Institute surpassed their past performance and now sit in the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in the nation," according to Joyce Dombrouski, Chief Acute Services officer for St. Patrick Hospital, the home of the International Heart Institute.