St. Luke's CEO credits evidence-based practices, doc engagement for high-quality ranking

Idaho-based St. Luke's Health System has made Truven Health Analytics' list of the nation's top 15 health systems for the third consecutive year, and CEO David Pate, M.D., credits the ranking to a combination of evidence-based practices, cultural alignment and standardization.

For example, the system was ahead of the curve implementing a best-practices bundle for treating sepsis, one of the most underestimated threats in healthcare, Pate writes in a piece for Becker's Hospital Review. Like many other systems, St. Luke's has also worked to implement lean methodology to eliminate waste and inefficiency. "We have hospitals with more than 400 beds and others in rural areas with 25 beds, and we know that we can't do everything exactly the same in these very different settings," he writes, "but we don't use that as an excuse to do things differently just because of differences in size or location."

Culture was also a vital aspect of St. Luke's success, Pate says, citing the system's "Project Zero" initiative. This program aimed to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) to zero in the orthopedics department. St. Luke's left no stone unturned, going so far as to analyze air particle levels within operating rooms, and the initiative has cut SSIs in total knee and total hip replacements by half thus far.

Similarly, St. Luke's has emphasized engagement of both its board and its physicians, according to Pate. In the case of the former, community board members keep leaders on their toes by being far less receptive to excuses for lack of results. On the physician side, the system has appointed physician "champions" to spearhead its quality and patient safety improvement efforts, Pate writes..

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