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Case Study


Achieving Efficiency: Lessons from Four Top-Performing Hospitals

Despite widespread acknowledgment of waste and inefficiency in the U.S. health care system, there have not been dramatic breakthroughs that point the way to more cost-effective alternatives. The problems that contribute to high costs and mediocre quality are complex and intertwined with the organization and financing of health services. There are, however, changes under way within leading organizations that suggest significant improvements in quality and value can be achieved. In 2008, the Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Recognition Program began identifying hospitals that have made “big leaps in health care safety, quality, and customer value.” Thirteen hospitals out of nearly 1,300 who voluntarily submitted data in 2008 achieved top scores in quality of care while keeping resource use low.

To learn what opportunities exist for all hospitals to achieve greater efficiency, we conducted case studies of four of the 13 Leapfrog Group–designated “Highest Value Hospitals.” These included Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minn., North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Miss., Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn., and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore. This paper offers a synthesis of lessons from their experiences.

This case studies series was created for . The goal of is to foster health care quality improvement by promoting transparency and public reporting, and by providing tools and case studies of top performers to aid organizations in their own improvement efforts.

Publication Details



J. N. Edwards, S. Silow-Carroll, and A. Lashbrook, Achieving Efficiency: Lessons from Four Top-Performing Hospitals, The Commonwealth Fund, July 2011.