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A South Carolina health-care analytics group has stepped forward into the cottage industry of providing hospital quality and patient care rankings, with several Triad hospitals listed among the best.

Quantros, based in Greenville, S.C., released last week its 2019 CareChex rankings at www.carechex.com.

The rankings “benchmark the clinical quality, patient safety and performance” for hospitals across the country.

CareChex said its rankings and ratings “are the industry’s only outcomes-scoring mechanism that takes into account the true risk profile of a patient and that compares like populations to isolate true variances.”

The group said the variances are assessed for statistical significance, “ensuring that those being recognized are truly providing higher-quality, lower-cost care relative to their peers.”

“CareChex is not really a new player, having been in the field for more than two decades, but we’re just getting familiar with them and gaining recognition locally,” said Dr. Mary Jo Cagle, chief operating officer at Cone.

“They use the same metrics as the federal government, data that hospitals are required to publicly report in mortality, complications, readmissions, patient safety and patient quality.

There were three main categories: medical excellence, patient safety and patient satisfaction. There also were 35 specialties ranked.

Hospitals are ranked based on performance in those categories, typically needing to be in top 10 percent in North Carolina to be listed. Some hospitals may not have enough annual cases to qualify for ranking in the specialties.

Medical excellence and patient safety were evaluated for overall hospital care, patient care and surgical care, while patient satisfaction was ranked only in overall hospital care.

For example, Cone Health of Greensboro was ranked first and Watauga Medical Center of Boone second for medical excellence involving overall surgical care.

Forsyth ranked fifth for overall hospital care and surgical care in the patient safety category. Davie Medical Center was ranked third in patient satisfaction. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s top ranking was eighth for medical care in the patient safety category.

“With the continued growth of value-based health care, CareChex’s objective, comprehensive data on clinical quality, cost of care and service utilization is invaluable to purchasers, providers and consumers,” Trey Cook, Quantros’ president and chief executive, said in a statement.

“Hospitals need specific, meaningful data to assess their performance and take advantage of competitive positioning, as well as identify opportunities for improvement.

“Meanwhile, payers look to this information to evaluate potential alliances, partnerships and network creation.”

Cook said he believes CareChex can play in a role in helping individuals make more informed decisions as health care costs and insurance deductibles continue to rise.

“They work with the hospitals to help them improve their performance, rather than just assigning a score,” Cagle said. “For the public, it’s important for the hospital to perform consistently high in each measuring sticks for quality of care and cost.”

There is some debate about which consumer health care rankings carry the most weight. I believe CareChex helps internally with quality improvement.”

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals is considered among the more relevant, along with www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare, ahrq.gov, healthgrades.com, drscore.com and leapfroggroup.org.

Chad Setliff, president and chief operating officer of Forsyth, said in August that the hospital and Novant “believe that each rating system has its own merit, assisting patients as they research which health care decisions are right for them and their families.”

“National ratings are just one of many tools our teams use to identify opportunities as we continue our commitment to excellent care and continuous improvement.”

For example, Wake Forest Baptist was ranked nationally in seven adult and one pediatric specialties for the U.S. News’ 2018-19 list that was released in August. A hospital has to be among the top 50 in the country to achieve a national ranking.

As has been the pattern for U.S. News for several years, the rankings tilted again toward academic medical centers in North Carolina and nationally.

Just two non-academic medical centers in North Carolina received a national ranking: Vidant Medical Center of Greenville received two and Carolinas Medical Center’s main campus in Charlotte received one.

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rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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