In a report released today the organization HealthGrades identifies hospitals in the top 5% of the nation for clinical excellence. Healthgrades estimates that 150,132 Medicare lives could potentially have been saved and 13,104 Medicare in-hospital complications could potentially have been avoided if all hospitals performed as well as the top 5%. Lean Six Sigma practitioners know from experience that such improvements are not impossible, if the organization commits itself to process excellence.

HealthGrades assesses the quality of care provided at the nation’s 5,000 nonfederal hospitals. It looks at 26 diagnoses and procedures and requires that hospitals have star ratings in at least 19 categories to be considered for recognition as a HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence™ (DHA-CE.) The Healthgrades process for recognition is quite transparent:

After creating a list of hospitals that met the above criteria, HealthGrades took the following steps to determine the DHA-CE recipients.

  1. Calculated the average star rating and average z-score for each hospital by averaging all of their MedPAR-based ratings and the corresponding z-scores.
  2. Ranked hospitals in descending order by their average star rating, with ties broken by average z-score.
  3. Selected the top 269 hospitals on the list (which represents the top 5% of all hospitals).
  4. Designated the hospitals as recipients of the 2010 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence.

2 responses to “Healthgrades Identifies Best Hospitals”

  1. medgeworth Avatar

    Is the full study available? I looked at the link that Tom provided and did not see any mention of Lean Six Sigma in the press release although Healthgrades did use statistics to arrive at their ranking. I know that a lot of healthcare facilities are adopting Lean. It would be good to use as an example if the study says that these hospitals differentiated themselves because of Lean Six Sigma.

    1. Thomas Pyzdek Avatar
      Thomas Pyzdek

      Go to and see if they have contact information. My experience is that you can usually get some additional information, but it’s rare that you can get the full study. I couldn’t find anything as simple as a download link.

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