Recognition & rankings

A few degrees of separation: That is the reach of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Many of us have friends, family or colleagues who attended the Boston Marathon or were involved in emergency care after the bombings. For the cardiology community, that includes physicians like C. Michael Gibson, MD, a cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Gibson learned of the explosions near the race finish line through a text from his son, a runner at the event, Gibson told NPR. In a text, the son first informed his father that he was not harmed and then explained that a bombing had occurred. Gibson, on call, went to the hospital to assist in treating the wounded.

You can read and hear the account here.

Skills, training and emergency preparedness helped to save lives and reduce the damage caused by explosives that were designed to kill and maim. Boston’s medical systems are proving that they are up to the ongoing task.

Truven Health Analytics, formerly Reuters, recently released its ranking of the top 15 healthcare systems in the U.S. Analysts determined the winners using measures of quality care: mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average length of stay, 30-day mortality rate, 30-day readmission rate, adherence to clinical standards of care and patient survey score.

The list is broken into three categories based on operating expenses. The winners in the “large” group included names that frequently appear in this publication for innovative and successful programs, such as initiatives to reduce heart failure readmissions: Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, for instance, and Advocate Health Care in suburban Chicago.

No Boston hospital systems appeared among the top 15, although Cape Cod Healthcare in Hyannis, Mass., made the grade in the “small” category.

Rankings are popular, and for those who produce them, a way to promote their brand. Winners covet the recognition and status rankings bestow. But rankings fail to capture the real value of hospitals and the staff who at any moment answer the call to assist their communities, as Beth Israel and the other Boston hospitals have shown.

Candace Stuart

Cardiovascular Business, editor