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SLUHN Among Top 15 Health Systems with THE TOP Teaching Hospital in USA
April 28, 2021

Network Also Achieves Multiple 100-Top-Hospital Designations, including #1 Major Teaching Hospital in the Country.

St. Luke's University Health Network is a first-time winner of the prestigious 2021 15 Top Health Systems award, part of the Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals national benchmarks series.

St. Luke’s is the only health system in the Lehigh Valley to receive this honor – and one of only two health systems in Pennsylvania.

IBM Watson Health has identified the top health systems in the United States through a rigorous, objective evaluation of 324 health systems with multiple hospitals. The annual top health system list, published Monday by Fortune, was established in 2009 to identify top performance benchmarks for fully integrated health systems and to motivate better performance across the health care industry. It recognizes excellence in, among other measures, clinical outcomes, patient experience and operational efficiency through effective system integration.

For the first time, this year's ranking also introduces a measure of hospitals' contributions to community health with a focus on equity. Developed by a team of experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity and the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it is based on three components: 1) assessing hospital contributions to community health as a provider of critical services for community health and preventive care; 2) identifying ways that hospitals contribute to community health as a community partner teaming up with local organizations to implement critical programs; and 3) focusing on ways that hospitals promote community health through their practices as anchor institutions supporting local economic and social progress.

"Hospitals save lives both by caring for individuals who are sick and by working to keep their communities healthy," said Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement and Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "By recognizing hospital excellence in community health with a focus on equity, IBM Watson Health is helping advance the broad and urgent mission of healthcare in the twenty-first century."

Many health care “systems” in this country do not operate as actual systems; rather, their various components – hospitals, service lines, practices, information technology, electronic medical records, human resources, etc. – largely operate independently, explained St. Luke’s University Health Network President and CEO Rick Anderson. In contrast, St. Luke’s success is a direct result of a legitimate, thorough integration, providing patients with a seamless and consistent patient and clinical experience in all of the Network’s 12 hospitals and more than 300 outpatient locations.

“The IBM Watson 15 Top Health System award recognizes St. Luke’s University Health Network’s ability to provide fully integrated services and the highest level of quality care at a lower cost than any hospital network in our region. This recognition is especially significant at this time, considering the vital and fundamental role of health systems in the battle against COVID-19,” Anderson said. “I am proud of and grateful for the efforts of our outstanding physicians, nurses and our entire team, including their dedication and commitment to superior patient care during this challenging time.”

#1 Nationwide in the Major Teaching Hospital Category

In addition to the 15 Top Health Systems recognition, individual St. Luke’s campuses won IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospital awards for the ninth time:

  • St. Luke’s University Hospital, Bethlehem and Allentown campuses, for the seventh time in a row and the ninth time overall in the Major Teaching Hospital category. THIS YEAR ST. LUKE’S UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL WAS RANKED #1 IN THE COUNTRY IN THE MAJOR TEACHING HOSPITAL CATEGORY – #1 IN THE COUNTRY! (https://fortune.com/2021/04/27/top-teaching-hospitals-2021-ibm-watson-health/).
  • St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township for the third time in a row (in the Medium Community Hospital category, one of 20 hospitals in the country).
  • St. Luke’s Miners Campus in Schuylkill County for the first time (in the Small Community Hospital category, one of 20 hospitals in the country).

IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals, conducted annually since 1993, is unarguably one of the health industry’s most prestigious honors. Unlike many other health care awards, IBM Watson Health awards are based entirely on an independent, scientific review of objective data.

IBM Watson Health researchers evaluated 2,675 short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals. All research was based on the following public data sets: Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data, and data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Compare website. Hospitals do not apply for awards, and winners do not pay to market this honor.

These prestigious recognitions demonstrate St. Luke’s ongoing commitment to prioritize PATIENT-CENTERED CARE. St. Luke’s University Hospital is the only hospital in the region ever named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals in the Major Teaching Hospital category.

“We are proud of all of the hospitals, health systems and their dedicated clinicians and staff included among the IBM Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems,” said Irene Dankwa-Mullan, MD, MPH, Chief Health Equity Officer and Deputy Chief Health officer at IBM Watson Health. “These organizations demonstrate a relentless commitment to high value, patient-centered care and innovation and we applaud them for their dedication and achievements.”

For more information, visit http://www.100tophospitals.com/.