Sutter Health Network a “Model” in Health Care Efficiency and Consistent Care in Groundbreaking Study
Health Care “Disorganized and Often Chaotic” Elsewhere
SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 20, 2008 – Updated data from a groundbreaking study about the quality and efficiency of health care show that doctors and hospitals affiliated with the Sutter Health network provide patients more efficient health care than other health systems, especially those in Southern California.
The findings are part of an independent academic study recently released by Dartmouth Medical School's Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences. The study examined hospital efficiency and the quality of care provided to a particular population of patients.
The academic researchers showed that the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota; Intermountain Healthcare in the Utah region and Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region used fewer resources per patient than even the most efficient Los Angeles hospitals, and they had quality scores above the Los Angeles average. The research found that compared to Mayo, Intermountain and Sutter, “all Los Angeles hospitals are high cost.”
According to the study, compared to Sutter, Mayo and Intermountain, Los Angeles hospitals “used 81 percent more hospital beds than needed; 106 percent more ICU beds; 110 percent more FTE physicians; and required 75 percent more registered nurses under proposed federal standards.” The study states, “this amounts to a lot of wasted money and unnecessary care. Apart from the relatively uncommon examples of large group practices like the Mayo Clinic, and integrated healthcare organizations like the Sutter system, most American health care is disorganized and often chaotic.”
In March 2006, data from the initial Dartmouth study about the quality and efficiency of health care showed that doctors and hospitals affiliated with the Sutter Health network provided patients more efficient and consistent care than other health systems around the state.
“The initial and updated research confirms that in terms of cost, it is the overall price – not individual unit prices – that matters most,” said Gordon Hunt, M.D., chief medical officer for Sutter Health.
Hunt added the study shows again that Sutter’s coordinated but flexible approach results in more effective and consistent levels of care. “Our 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,” he said.
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.
Earlier this year, another study underwritten by CALPERS and the Pacific Business Group on Health concluded that Southern California hospitals were lower cost compared to those in Northern California. The independent research conducted by the Dartmouth team found the opposite to be true. Read the Dartmouth study.
Sutter Health Media Line