Study Shows More Efficient and Consistent Care at Sutter Health Affiliated Doctors and Hospitals
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 28, 2006 – New data from a groundbreaking study about the quality and efficiency of health care shows that doctors and hospitals affiliated with the Sutter Health network provide patients more efficient and consistent care than other health systems around the state.
The findings are part of research recently released by John Wennberg, M.D., director of Dartmouth Medical School's Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences. His study examined hospital efficiency and the quality of care provided to a particular population of patients.
The research found that in other provider organizations, especially those in Southern California, patients spent more time in the hospital. The study also suggests that longer hospital stays typically result in lower levels of patient satisfaction and decreased quality.
"Most people don't want to be in the hospital if they can be at home," said Sutter Health's Chief Medical Officer Gordon Hunt, M.D. "The new data from this study shows that, unlike many other health care systems, Sutter Health has coordinated the services across our not-for-profit network to provide people with the kind of care they want."
The initial study by Dr. Wennberg, which followed a group of patients who were hospitalized at least once between 1999 and 2003, showed Sutter Health had an average hospital stay of just over 11 days – the lowest of the nine hospital systems studied. A number of California hospitals posted average patient stays for this population exceeding 20 days.
"Sutter Health has worked hard to build a coordinated but flexible health care system that allows patients to access the quality care provided by our family of doctors, hospitals, and other health care services in the setting that's right for them," said Dr. Hunt.
More recent research published by Dr. Wennberg shows Sutter's coordinated approach also extends to its affiliated physician groups, which in the study showed not only high levels of efficiency but also little variation across the network.
"The new findings of this study show that this coordinated but flexible approach results in more effective and consistent levels of care. Sutter Health patients have fewer interventions and receive interventions when they need it – without unnecessary services that do nothing for the patient and only add extra risk and additional expense," added Dr. Hunt.
As health care costs continue to increase, the nation is struggling to find ways to hold the line on costs while ensuring the highest quality. Sutter Health's coordinated patient-provider partnership is just one example of how the network is constantly striving to achieve the highest levels of quality, access and affordability.