The Edward-Elmhurst Health system earned a major vote of confidence Tuesday as it was named one of the 15 Top Health Systems in the country by Fortune/IBM Watson Health.
The award came along with two other honors from the health data firm, which put Edward and Elmhurst hospitals each on the list of the 100 Top Hospitals in the country and among 20 hospitals recognized with the Everest Award for high achievement and fast improvement in the clinical, operational and patient satisfaction metrics evaluated.
This is the second year in a row the Edward-Elmhurst Health organization, formed by merger in 2013, has earned the honor as one of the 15 Top Health Systems in Watson Health's review of publicly available hospital data. Edward-Elmhurst is the only Illinois system to make the list this year and one of only three in Illinois to be recognized since the program began in 2008.
"This, for us, is a very, very important award," said Mary Lou Mastro, system CEO of Edward-Elmhurst Health. "To us, it's one of the most prestigious awards just because it's based on measurable data."
A detailed review process for each honor evaluated factors such as inpatient mortality, patient complications, average length of stay, readmission rate and annual operating profit margin. The program evaluated 332 health systems and 2,492 member hospitals for the 15 Top Systems award, and 3,134 hospitals for the 100 Top Hospitals honor.
Joining Edward and Elmhurst on the 100 Top Hospitals list in Illinois are Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Evanston Hospital, Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago and SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia.
For its systemwide success, Edward-Elmhurst is especially proud of its low mortality rates, with an inpatient mortality rate of 0.66, on a risk-adjusted index for which the lower the number is below 1, the better. The next-lowest risk-adjusted mortality rate among the 15 Top Health Systems was 0.79, while the highest rate among systems that made the list was 1.09.
"When we look at all 15 health systems, we had the absolute lowest mortality of all of those," Mastro said. "Having fewer complications and lower mortality -- that's always important, no matter what is going on in health care, including a pandemic."
Data studied for the 2020 awards came from before COVID-19 cases had been identified in the suburbs.
But Mastro said news of the awards comes at a welcome time to be a morale booster, as hospital staff members -- especially those in the intensive care and emergency departments -- have been treating patients with COVID-19 since March.
At the peak of cases seen so far, Edward and Elmhurst hospitals together were treating about 150 COVID-19 patients at once. As of Monday, Mastro said, the total of COVID-19-positive patients at the two hospitals was down to 16.