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St. Luke's Earns Truven Top 15 Honors: Employees 'placed the patient first'

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
April 20, 2015
Editor’s note: Following is a letter sent to St. Luke’s board members, physicians, staff members, and volunteers today by Dr. Pate:

It is with tremendous excitement and great pride that I announce to you that St. Luke’s Health System has been named by Truven Health Analytics as one of the Top 15 Health Systems for 2015, our second year in a row for receiving this distinction.

We did not apply for this award and we do not pay to receive or market this award. The winners are selected by quantitative analysis through independent research and the use of publicly available data sources.

Truven indicates that the 15 best health systems in the nation have
  • lower complication rates.
  • lower mortality rates.
  • followed industry-recommended standards of care more closely.
  • fewer patient safety errors.
  • shorter lengths of stay.
  • higher patient satisfaction results.
  • lower Medicare spending per beneficiary.
Regardless of your role at St. Luke’s, whether you are a physician, employee, volunteer, donor, or board member, all of you have contributed to this success. While it is our front-line patient care staff members who deliver this outstanding care, they would be the first to tell you that they could not do their jobs without all the people who provide support directly or indirectly behind the scenes. I am proud of each and every one of you.

Why is this recognition so important?

Shortly after I started here with St. Luke’s six years ago, we set a goal to be a nationally-recognized quality leader. This goal is incorporated into our strategic framework document as one of the seven strategic initiatives.

This award is external validation to us and to our stakeholders that we have become a national leader in quality. In fact, one can look to the many other awards and recognitions we have received to make a compelling case that we are indeed, a national leader in quality, safety and patient satisfaction. This year alone, we have received:

  • Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award for the Treasure Valley and Magic Valley hospitals.
  • Qualis Health Idaho Quality Award for Project Zero – Joint Replacement.
  • Healthgrades America’s 100 Best Hospitals – Treasure Valley.
  • Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Vascular Surgery Award.
  • Healthgrades America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Joint Replacement Award, Orthopedic Surgery Award, Stroke Care Award, Critical Care Award, Gastrointestinal Care Award and General Surgery Award.
  • Healthgrades Neurosciences Excellence Award.
  • Healthgrades Pulmonary Care Excellence Award.

Why is the Truven award so meaningful?

First and foremost, this award recognizes St. Luke’s Health System for all the lives we have saved and complications that have been avoided because of our ongoing quality improvement activities and our culture of safety.

All of our efforts around reducing hospital-acquired conditions; incorporating patient safety huddles into our daily practice; reducing healthcare-associated infections; providing simulation and TeamSTEPPS training; incorporating evidence-based practices; standardizing our care and treatment for stroke, acute myocardial infarction, and sepsis throughout the System; improving hand hygiene; the adoption of our pre-surgical clinics; the implementation of our electronic intensive care unit; and the many other programs and services that have been put in place to provide our patients with the best possible outcomes of their care have contributed to our top-tier ranking.

Second, this award is particularly significant to me because we achieved it as a System – all of us, working together in clinics, ambulatory care centers, urgent care centers, emergency rooms, critical access hospitals, tertiary care hospitals, home care, Air St. Luke’s, and our rehabilitation hospital and clinics, and everywhere else we touch and impact the lives of patients.

Why am I so proud of our employees, physicians, volunteers, and boards?

Health care is in a state of transformation never seen or experienced before. The change can be overwhelming. National and local politics create uncertainty and an unending flow of new laws and regulations that impact us, and our competitors have certainly stirred up many distractions that have played themselves out in the media and press.

Despite all of this, you have remained focused on our patients and the care we provide them. You have continued to raise the bar for our quality, safety, and patient experience goals, even when we were already receiving national awards and recognition for our performance.

You have embraced new technology, shared best practices, piloted innovative new care programs and processes, benchmarked yourselves against others while constantly looking for opportunities to improve, educated students in many different healthcare disciplines, conducted research to advance our knowledge and our care, and in everything, you have placed the patient first.

This is why I am so proud of you. This is why my family and I receive our health care at St. Luke’s. We are making the highest quality, safest care, with the best patient experience available to all the communities we serve, so that they can receive world-class care close to home.

Congratulations! Keep up the good work. You all are truly the best, and I am honored to work with you.

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., previously served as president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009 and retired in 2020. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.