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Management research to provide operational advice on improving quality, reducing costs and eliminating disparities.

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Identifying Best Practices to Improve Multi-Hospital Health System Performance

A Guide to Achieving High Performance in Multi-Hospital Health Systems Due to the size and breadth of their organizations, multi-hospital health system leaders have a significant impact on the quality of health care in the United States. More than half of all U.S. hospitals belong to multi-hospital health systems, and about 60 percent of all hospital admissions occur in system hospitals. Yet, while a wide range of quality improvement (QI) mechanisms can be applied in individual hospitals, there has been a lack of actionable information that leaders of multi-hospital systems can leverage to improve quality across their systems.

Through support from The Commonwealth Fund, HRET studied best practices in QI strategies among multi-hospital health systems. The project collected data from a variety of sources--including public databases about system quality (Hospital Compare), claims data, and surveys of system leaders (AHA Annual Survey)--and compiled characteristics of systems that are associated with high measures of quality.

The resulting publication, A Guide to Achieving High Performance in Multi-Hospital Health Systems, distills the good being done by top-performing health systems into a quick, easily read format that will fuel discussion at the highest levels of leadership. The guide gathers information from HRET's research and interviews of leaders from a diverse group of 45 health care systems. The information asserts that system leaders can dramatically impact care quality across their systems. The guide provides nearly 20 best practices as well as specific examples from the systems interviewed.

For more information about the project, contact Steve Hine at (312) 422-2607 or

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