November 20, 2009

Cardiovascular care ranked among best in nation

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Cardiovascular care ranked among best in nation

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been recognized for the second year among the top 100 U.S. hospitals that are setting the nation's benchmarks for cardiovascular care in a study by Thomson Healthcare.

The study — 2009 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success — appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of Modern Healthcare and examined the performance of 971 hospitals by analyzing clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and angioplasties.

“One of the nice things about this award is the recognition that our quality efforts are paying off,” said Eric Neilson, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine. “In the highly competitive world of cardiovascular medicine, quality is everything to our market preference and patient satisfaction.”

Vanderbilt was one of 30 winners among teaching hospitals with cardiovascular residency programs.

Forty winners were named among teaching hospitals without cardiovascular residency programs and 30 were named among community hospitals.

“It's extremely rewarding to be recognized publicly for the work that we do,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., executive medical director and chief medical officer for VHVI.

“The VHVI staff and faculty strive to be the best and they work very hard to be one of the elite cardiovascular programs in the nation. This award is a tribute to their efforts.”

The study, in its 11th year, found that the 100 Top Hospitals cardiovascular award winners, as a group, have:
• 17 percent lower mortality rates for heart attack patients.
• 10 percent lower mortality rates for heart failure patients.
• 27 percent lower mortality for bypass surgery patients.
• 22 percent lower mortality following PCI.
• Fewer post-operative complications (99 percent of patients were complication-free).
• Close to 12 percent shorter average hospital stay.
• 12 percent lower cost per case.

“This recognition is a strong statement about the 'quality culture' of our institution that permeates every part of the team of people that make up this hospital,” said Doug Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

“The emphasis on the highest quality clinical care, working toward the best outcomes for our patients, has earned us this recognition. We expect and intend to make the list every year.”

The 100 Top Hospitals study scored hospitals in key performance areas: risk-adjusted surgical mortality, risk-adjusted medical mortality, risk-adjusted complications, core measures score, percentage of coronary bypass patients with internal mammary artery use, procedure volume, severity-adjusted average length of stay and wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.

“The collaborative relationship between our cardiac surgeons and cardiologists has enabled us to provide the highest quality, cost effective care to our patients,” said John Byrne, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery.

“We've developed a paradigm where the combination is greater than the sum of the parts.”