There are a lot of hospitals who claim to be among the world’s best – but has anyone ever listed what it takes to be one?
One good guide is the US News ranking based on set criteria, where it ranked the best 14 hospitals in the US:
List of US News’ Honor Roll Hospitals
1 Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
2 Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
3 Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
4 Cleveland Clinic
5 Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
6 New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
7 University of California, San Francisco Medical Center
8 Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis
9 Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
10 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.
11 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
12 University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle
13 UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
14 University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor
The following eight factors were found to be common themes in explaining their success:
1. Innovation – A desire to practice in an environment that embraces evidence attracts nurses and other staff to these hospitals.
2. ‘Patient-first’ philosophy – a no-brainer really, but quite easily forgotten by hospitals who pay too much attention to the financial bottom-line. They often forget that its the patients (read ‘customers’) who are paying their salaries!
3. Collaboration – Teamwork creates better outcomes, and many of these hospitals have embraced fostering greater collaboration between disciplines. Every discipline brings a special domain of practice, knowledge and skill to create a village of information.
4. Quality Improvement- Structured processes for clinical services allow staff to define and sustain clinical practice standards and incorporate new findings into practice.Care processes and measures for success can be defined and measured via a balanced scorecard.
5. Quality Nursing Care – Patients come to the hospital expecting the best doctor and often, they will be given the treatment they need for their medical condition to improve. What makes the difference is the nursing. When nurses add on compasssion on top of the usual nursing skills, they give that extra edge.
6. Positive Work Environment – Nurses form a key component in any hospital, and to retain and attract them, the hospital management has to create an environment where people will want to work in. In my experience, a good pay is important but this is not the be all and end all. Other factors come into play like professional satisfaction and empowerment.
7. Continuing Education – one of the factors enhancing point 6. We are looking not at just professional education, but also at social skills like following up on complaints.
8. Staff Engagement – When you engage people closest to the work , you respect them.They want to know where the organization is going and what the driving value is, and you can demonstrate how their work contributes to that. That includes letting the staff know as and when new staff are brought in as part of succession planning.
In my years as a hospital manager, the above values keep on recurring time after time and quite often, many hospitals do not make it to the top quite simply because the above lessons are not assimilated.
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