The U.S. News and World Report ranked Delaware first in the nation for the quality of its hospitals this year.
As part of its annual best states ranking system, U.S. News assesses the ability of hospitals around the country to perform and treat nine different procedures and conditions. The list ranges from heart and cancer surgeries to joint replacement.
“They certainly focused on specific, all though high-volume, type procedures that are likely to drive a lot of patient experience and patient interaction with our facilities,” said Delaware Healthcare Association President and CEO Wayne Smith. “Having said that, it is a focused set of measurements—ones that, I think, legitimately represent how well hospitals are doing.”
Smith points to statewide collaborations between all of Delaware’s nine hospitals as a factor for their success in the ranking.
U.S. News placed Delaware 6th in the category of health care quality. The First State was held back because it was rated 35th in preventable hospital admissions. Smith says ensuring patients don’t needlessly end up making costly trips to the emergency department partly involves addressing patient behavior.
“First and foremost we need to educate and work with patients to make sure that they’re getting the appropriate care—that they access primary care, if they have a primary care provider that they see regularly. And don’t let conditions linger until it requires a trip to the emergency department. So that is an area of challenge,” he said.
The health care quality metric factors in with care access and public health metrics to make the U.S. News ranking for overall health, in which Delaware placed 15th. Smith says that’s up 10 places from last year.
The ranking would be higher if Delaware did not place 28th overall in public health. That metric measures the rates of obesity, smoking, suicide, mental health and mortality for adults and infants. Delaware ranked 46th in infant mortality.