IBM Watson Health Names Its 15 Top-Performing Health Systems

Ryan Black
APRIL 23, 2018

Analytics firm Truven Health Analytics has been releasing a list of its 15 Top Health Systems for a decade now. The list’s name has changed since the firm was acquired by IBM Watson Health in 2016, but its fundamental goals have not.

The ranking system uses an analytics-based scorecard that weighs valuable metrics like patient length of stay and mortality rates. Five winning hospital systems are chosen in 3 different network size categories: small, medium, and large.

>>READ: Mayo Clinic and IBM Watson Deliver Good News for AI in Healthcare

Familiar names, like Rochester, Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic system led the large system category, mingling with entries from around the country in the small and medium groups. By following the lead of these systems, the Watson researchers said, the US could save more than 60,000 more lives per year while substantially decreasing hospital infection rates and time in emergency departments.

“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," Jean Chenoweth the Senior Program Director of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals Program, 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 rankings looked at available data from nearly 340 health systems to make their determinations. Volatility, or variance between outcomes in individual hospitals throughout the system, was a key factor in the rankings. Volatility was 1.9% lower between member hospitals among the winners than it was among their overall peer groups.

While Mayo Clinic made its 5th straight appearance in the rankings (and 7th overall), numerous systems cracked the list for the first time. Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia, Aspirus Network in Wausau, Wisconsin, and CHI St. Joseph Health in Bryan, Texas, all earned their inaugural top 5 rankings, each in a different size category.

The full list of winning health systems, according to IBM Watson Health, is as follows:

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

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

Small 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

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