Avera and Avera McKennan Named Among Top Health Systems and Hospitals in the Nation
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Published on April 27, 2021

Avera and Avera McKennan Named Among Top Health Systems and Hospitals in the Nation

Watson Health Top 15 Health Systems 2021

Avera Health has been named to the IBM Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems list, recognizing it as one of the top performing health systems in the U.S. The annual list was published today by Fortune.

Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., was named as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals, also by IBM Watson Health.

IBM Watson Health has identified the top hospitals and health systems from a rigorous evaluation of 324 health systems and 2,522 hospitals. The annual list recognizes excellence in clinical outcomes, operational efficiency and patient experience. IBM Watson Health established the list to help identify top performance benchmarks that may help other health care organizations achieve consistent, balanced, and sustainable high performance.

Watson Health Top 100 Hospitals 2021Avera was previously named to this prestigious top 15 list in 2019. Avera as a health system covers a 72,000-square mile footprint with 315 locations including 37 hospitals, 40 senior living facilities and 200 clinics, as well as home health, hospice, home medical equipment outlets, sports and fitness centers and more. Avera employs 19,700 people across the Upper Midwest.

“This award recognizes the consistent and innovative care Avera provides — no matter which of our clinics or hospitals you walk into. It’s an award that belongs to our front-line caregivers, and it’s well-deserved, especially in light of the past year of the pandemic. I’m so proud of this and other national accolades that verify the quality care that’s delivered on a day-to-day basis at all our facilities,” said Bob Sutton, President and CEO of Avera Health. “Avera has hospitals that are ranking among the top in the nation, from our smallest critical access facilities to our large tertiary care center.”

Also speaking to Avera's high quality, five Avera hospitals have been named 5-star facilities by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Star ratings enable consumers to more quickly and easily assess the patient experience of care information that is provided on the Care Compare website.

The sites earning the highest (5-star) rating include:

For patients, high quality translates into safety, improved outcomes, high value and a better patient experience. “We focus on the patient by expanding accessibility, convenience, transparency and virtual options for care,” Sutton said.

As a tertiary care center with 545 beds, Avera McKennan offers a wide continuum of care, from emergency and trauma to critical care to rehabilitation, and services for complex needs such as organ transplant, cancer, stroke, brain and spinal injury, joint replacement and more.

“Avera McKennan has a 110-year history of state-of-the-art, high quality care in Sioux Falls and beyond. What we’ve become is a reflection of our commitment to serve our friends and neighbors with the best health care that’s available. Our team of physicians and health care professionals are up to this challenge, demonstrated by our designation as a top hospital in the nation,” said David Flicek, President and CEO of Avera McKennan.

David Erickson, MD, Chief Medical and Innovation Officer for Avera, says Avera has been successful in achieving high quality for several key reasons. “At Avera, our clinical teams are engaged and quality is considered part of everyone’s job. Our physicians deeply understand quality and base care decisions on the best evidence. We empower staff at all levels to do what’s best for each patient – to provide the right care at the right time. We’re always looking at how we can improve our care on a continual basis. This year, like never before, our teams overcame many challenges and responded with lifesaving care.”

This recognition demonstrates Avera’s ongoing commitment to prioritize patient-centered care. As compared to their peer health systems, the organizations included on the IBM Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems list had better results on performance indicators intended to measure clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, and patient experience. These include:

  • Lower inpatient mortality rates and fewer patient complications, considering patient severity
  • Fewer health care-associated infections
  • Lower 30-day readmission rates
  • Shorter lengths of stay
  • Faster emergency care
  • Higher patient ratings of their overall hospital experience
  • Lower episode-of-care expenses for the in-hospital through after-care process.

“We are proud of all of the hospitals, health systems and their dedicated clinicians and staff included among the IBM Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems and 100 Top Hospitals,” said Irene Dankwa-Mullan, MD, MPH, Chief Health Equity Officer and Deputy Chief Health officer at IBM Watson Health. “These organizations demonstrate a relentless commitment to high value, patient-centered care and innovation and we applaud them for their dedication and achievements.”

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