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Iredell Memorial Hospital shines in U.S. News & World Report’s newly released Best Hospital rankings

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Iredell Memorial Hospital was ranked “High Performing” by U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Hospitals rankings for its treatment of patients with heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients, families, and doctors utilize the rankings to determine where to seek patient care for both life-threatening conditions and common procedures.

Iredell Memorial ranked in the highest 10 percent of the analyzed centers by excelling in care-related indicators including survival, patient volume, technology, quality of nursing, and patient experience.

The evaluation relies most heavily on outcomes because of the self-evident connection between a patient's survival chances and the quality and safety of their care.

Iredell Memorial’s COPD patients showed a higher survival rate than the majority of hospitals treating the obstructive lung disease.

Skilled surgeons and inpatient care significantly reduced the risk of death for Iredell Memorial patients with heart failure or COPD, and as the Hospital gains increasing recognition on resources such as U.S. News’ rankings, more patients are benefitting from its renowned care.

Extensive professional experience within Iredell Memorial’s COPD and heart failure care set the Hospital apart in the rankings. Citing the correlation between higher patient volume and better outcomes, U.S. News ranked the Hospital’s heart failure care “High” and its COPD care “Very High” for their number of Medicare inpatients age 65 and over.

Iredell Memorial has developed several programs in support of patients managing their chronic conditions within the Hospital and after they leave. Programs include enhanced patient education, follow-up telephone calls, and post-discharge care coordination.

“Hospital employees collaborate with post-acute care partners to improve patient care as patients transition from the Hospital to home health care, skilled nursing, palliative care, or outpatient physician care,” said Donna Collins, Iredell Health System’s assistant vice president of quality and clinical outcomes.

U.S. News recognized Iredell Memorial’s COPD care and heart failure care for using noninvasive breathing aids, which is essential to the success of patient outcomes. When a patient takes in a breath, the non-invasive ventilator simultaneously supplies them with extra oxygen and air, providing a booster breath to help get the air into the patient’s lungs. This takes the work off of the heart by supplying the patient with fresh oxygenated air.

“The patient typically immediately feels much better, and it allows time for the heart failure medications to be administered and start to work,” said Bob Noble, Iredell Health System’s director of respiratory care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 5.7 million adults suffer from heart failure and that COPD makes breathing difficult for 16 million people. For the 50 percent of adults with low pulmonary function unaware they have COPD, the rankings can act as a tool to gain the diagnosis and treatment they need.

Iredell Memorial was recognized by U.S. News for having a specialized intensive care unit (ICU) for heart patients and for having its ICU staffed by a doctor specifically trained to care for ICU patients. The hospital’s ICU includes 16 critical care beds with trained nurses caring for patients with congestive heart failure, other pulmonary/respiratory diseases, or heart disease, as well as patients recovering from surgical procedures.

“Intensivists see all patients in the critical care unit and participate in multidisciplinary rounding of the patients with 24/7 coverage,” said Iredell Health System’s ICU director, Kathy Lail.

As Iredell Memorial remains well-equipped with nurses, the hospital’s nursing care per patient with COPD or heart failure each ranked “High” by U.S. News.

The evaluation represents the three key aspects of quality hospital care: structure, process, and outcomes.

U.S. News added flu immunization rates to this year’s rankings, with Iredell Memorial receiving a “Nearly All” status by surpassing 90 percent immunization of its patients with COPD or heart failure.

The U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking is the most respected evaluation within the healthcare community. More than a ranking system, it is a rigorous assessment that influences people’s lives by helping them make crucial healthcare decisions. Its objective methodology has earned it the respect of healthcare leaders nationwide. And, with more than 3 million readers visiting the Best Hospitals website each month, it is the most prominent hospital evaluation in the world.