St. Anthony Summit Medical Center ranked a top hospital in the nation by IBM Watson Health | SummitDaily.com

St. Anthony Summit Medical Center ranked a top hospital in the nation by IBM Watson Health

Summit County is home to some of the nation's best skiing, hiking and sight-seeing. Now it's also home to one of the country's best hospitals, as St. Anthony Summit Medical Center has been ranked as one of the America's top 100 hospitals in an annual study conducted by IBM Watson Health.

St. Anthony Summit is one of six Colorado hospitals in the top 100 list, and the only hospital in the state to be ranked as one of the 20 best small community hospitals in the country. The rankings, previously known as the Truven Health Analytics study, have been published for 25 years. This is the first time St. Anthony Summit has been ranked in the top 100.

"We are honored to be recognized as a 100 Top Hospital by IBM Watson Health," said Paul Chodkowski, president and CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in a press release. "This prestigious award is a reflection of the excellent care and wonderful service provided by the entire staff – clinical and non-clinical alike – at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center."

Marshall Denkinger, St. Anthony's Chief Medical Officer, said the distinction is a special one considering that St. Anthony has only been operating since 2005.

"The hospital as it stands now has only been here 12 years, and it's really been a voyage and a process for us to open this hospital," Denkinger said. "Piece by piece, we managed to build a high level of quality and excellence, and our efforts have been recognized by an independent group."

Denkiner added that the hospital is especially proud of the distinction because of the independent nature of the rankings.

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"I think the real aspect of the study that separates it from the rest is that it's objective and independent," Denkinger said. "It uses publicly available data, and is not reliant on membership or any sort of payment to participate in it. It's something really unique about the rankings."

The IBM Watson ranking uses publicly available clinical, financial and patient satisfaction information data to grade hospitals on a balanced scorecard. According to a IBM Watson press release, almost 3,000 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals were graded on several categories, including better survival rate, fewer complications and infections, shorter length of stay, shorter emergency department wait times, lower inpatient expenses, higher profit margins and higher patient satisfaction scores.

Denkinger said that the hospital scored highly in these categories primarily due to the "unrelenting focus" of St. Anthony staff to provide excellent health care to the community. He added that small community hospitals like St. Anthony represent the people they serve, which means Summit should also take pride in the distinction.

"We're very proud of this distinction and want to thank every single person in the hospital who does this work every day," Denkinger said. "We also want to thank the community for the support and opportunity to give them quality care and provide this kind of excellence. It's a reflection of community and not just people at the hospital."

St. Anthony does not intend this to be a one-off distinction. Brent Boyer, the hospital's communications manager, said the hospital intends to maintain the quality of care that brought home the honor while aiming even higher next year.

"The nature of change in this industry means that we can't rest on our laurels," Boyer said. "Whether it's tech advances, or governance and administration, or making sure all clinical or non-clinical associates are an instrumental part of what we do day in day out, those things will just have to continue for us."