Value-Based Care

IBM Watson Health Names 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals

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Ekta S. Punwani is the leader of the 100 Top Hospitals Program.


Cardiovascular disease is among the most widespread and costliest diseases in the U.S. with an annual price tag of roughly $317 billion. It is estimated that cardiovascular disease accounts for approximately $1 out of every $6 spent on healthcare in the country[1]. That’s why it is so critical that hospitals find new and innovative ways to deliver better care at a lower cost.

This is the 20th year of our 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals™ annual study, and what we have witnessed every single year has been the ongoing determination to raise the bar higher and higher for cardiac care performance. The winning hospitals in our study have demonstrated this with better outcomes at a lower cost per case than non-winning hospitals.

That is no small feat. In order to achieve better outcomes while undergoing unprecedented change in payment models and adjusting to new technological developments, hospitals have had to adapt. But the top-performers have shown once again that it is possible to navigate a changing marketplace while also driving improvements in quality, as measured on the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals’ balanced scorecard.

Following are some of the key performance benchmarks set by this year’s Watson Health 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals, for heart attack (AMI), heart failure (HF), coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) admissions:

  • Higher Inpatient Survival Rates: Winning hospitals had significantly higher inpatient survival rates (27.7 to 46.8 percent higher).
  • Fewer Complications: The 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals achieved 16.1 to 24.2 percent fewer patient complications.
  • Shorter Length of Stay: Average length-stay for CABG patients was nearly one day lower (0.8) and 0.4 days lower for AMI, HF, and PCI patients in winning hospitals.
  • Lower Cost: Winning hospitals delivered care for an average of $7,812 less per CABG and $1,635 to $3,582 less for HF, AMI, and PCI inpatient stays; as well as demonstrating lower average 30-day episode of care payments for AMI and HF ($1,208 and $883, respectively).
  • Lower Readmission Rates: Readmission rates for AMI and CABG were 0.6, and HF 0.7 percentage points lower in winning hospitals than non-winning hospitals.

Extrapolating the study results, if all cardiovascular providers in the U.S. performed at the level of this year’s winners (based on Medicare patients only), results industry-wide could amount to: over 10,300 additional lives saved, $1.8 billion saved, and 2,800 additional CABG and PCI patients could be complication-free.

Cardiovascular care will undoubtedly continue to evolve, and as it does, the top hospitals will continue to move the goalposts by finding new ways forward. As the technology, regulation and performance metrics continue to shift the landscape, those who continue to push the boundaries of what was once thought impossible will be those who thrive.

To read the highlights of our 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals 2019 report, please click here. For the full report, please click here.


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