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IBM Watson Health Names 15 Top Health Systems

News  |  By Steven Porter  
   April 23, 2018

This year's data quantified hospital alignment within each system. Winners were slightly more consistent than non-winners.

After evaluating clinical quality data from 338 health systems, IBM Watson Health identified 15 top-performers for its 2018 list released Sunday.

Compared to last year's list, this year's line-up of health systems includes many repeat-honorees and some newcomers. Nine of the 15 systems named in the 2018 list had been named in 2017 as well, when the organization was known as Truven Health Analytics.

Jean Chenoweth, senior program director for IBM Watson Health's 100 Top Hospitals Programs, said this year's data quantified the degree of hospital alignment within each system. Winners were slightly more consistent in clinical and operational performance among their hospitals than systems that didn't make the list, and that difference was statistically significant over a five-year period.

"Put simply, we wanted to determine how well health systems are achieving the goal of delivering a consistent patient experience in each of their facilities, and start benchmarking that performance each year," Chenoweth said in a statement. "Based on our data, it is clear that better hospital alignment does indeed play a role in overall health system performance, and it is something we will be investigating further."

The winning health systems are listed below, organized by size. Systems marked with an asterisk (*) were also named on the 2017 list.

Large health systems

  • Mayo Foundation – Rochester, MN*
  • Mercy – Chesterfield, MO*
  • Sentara Healthcare – Norfolk, VA
  • St. Luke's Health System – Boise, ID*
  • UCHealth – Aurora, CO

Medium health systems

  • Aspirus Network – Wausau, WI
  • HealthPartners – Bloomington, MN*
  • Mercy Health, Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH*
  • Mission Health – Asheville, NC*
  • TriHealth – Cincinnati, OH

Small health systems

  • Asante – Medford, OR*
  • CHI St. Joseph Health – Bryan, TX
  • Maury Regional Health – Columbia, TN*
  • Roper St. Francis Healthcare – Charleston, SC*
  • UPMC Susquehanna Health System – Williamsport, PA

IBM Watson Health reports that health systems who made its Top 15 list had 14.6% fewer in-hospital deaths, 17.3% fewer complications, 16.2% fewer healthcare-associated infections, 2.3% higher HCAHPS scores, and 5.6% lower spend than their non-winning peers.

More information is available at

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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