St. Luke’s Ranked Among Top 15 Health Systems Nationwide

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St. Luke's Hospital

Credit: St. Luke's University Health Network

An aerial view of St. Luke’s University Hospital-Bethlehem in Fountain Hill, which is part of St. Luke’s University Health Network (FILE PHOTO)

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

St. Luke’s is the only health system in the Lehigh Valley to receive the honor in 2021, 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.
  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.”

Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.

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