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Hospital-Physician Alignment Drives Improved Health Care and $4.6M Savings

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The current era of health care reform has intensified the pressure on hospitals and health systems nationwide to contain the growing cost of providing health care while improving the quality of care delivered.  


Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (New Brunswick, NJ) and Western Connecticut Health Network's Danbury Hospital (Danbury, CT) have emerged as national leaders in collaborating with physicians to succeed at meeting this dual challenge.  On April 8 in Dallas, these two institutions will receive the 2011 CRIMSON Physician Partnership Award in recognition of their improvement in clinical outcomes while documenting a combined $4.6 million in annualized savings.

The presentation will take place at the CRIMSON Annual Performance Summit at the Fairmont Dallas.  The awards, now in their second year, are presented to administrator-physician leadership teams at organizations that are members of the CRIMSON (R) physician performance technologies cohort.  CRIMSON is a division of The Advisory Board Company that helps hospitals and health systems advance quality goals and secure cost savings by eliminating inefficiencies in care delivery.

"These two members have achieved breath-taking gains in organizational performance by effectively engaging physicians – not just as clinical decision makers but also as business partners," said Paul Roscoe, CEO, CRIMSON.  "Hospital-physician collaboration that produces demonstrable value will be central to success in the coming accountable payment environment.  We applaud these hospitals for their ongoing commitment to efficient care that benefits patients and the larger community."

Danbury Hospital is being honored for its DRG (diagnosis-related group) Cost Efficiency Project, which targeted eight high-volume DRGs and showed an improvement in outcomes while achieving $2.9 million in savings.  For example, over the project's first 12 months, the institution improved key measures for stroke patients, including a 10% reduction in the 30-day readmission rate and an 8% cut in average length of stay (ALOS), while trimming average actual charges by 12%.

"We achieved our goals by working with physician champions to identify unnecessary variations in care, establish new target rates for core measures, monitor progress monthly, and hold ourselves accountable to a dashboard reviewed quarterly by senior hospital leadership and our Board of Directors," said Matthew Miller, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Danbury Hospital.  "Outcomes for the DRG Cost Efficiency Project became part of the Operational Goals for the hospital, and our success has led us to add DRGs to our efforts and take a broader look at opportunities to improve utilization."

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is being recognized for its pilot program of 50 physicians who improved their ALOS by 8% and average cost per case by $276.  The program yielded such strong immediate improvements that the institution doubled the number of participating physicians within 12 months.  RWJUH finished the program's initial year with $1.7 million in measured savings, far eclipsing its $400,000 goal.

To ensure that the program engaged physicians from the outset, the RWJUH Chief Medical Officer has met individually with physicians to review specific opportunities to reach an appropriate ALOS.  The CMO follows up with physicians individually and in groups with monthly trending and progress data.

"We had to move past physicians' natural and appropriate questioning of performance data, and having easy access to statistically valid, severity-adjusted data to share with physicians is critical to doing so," said Joshua Bershad, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs & CMO for RWJUH.  "We have seen the results in strengthened physician-hospital partnerships and improvements in care."

For more information on the 2011 CRIMSON Physician Partnership Award, including videos on RWJUH and Danbury Hospital, visit

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the newly formed affiliation of Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and a family of supporting organizations and businesses providing the highest level of care for patients in western Connecticut and adjacent New York.

Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the Yale University School of Medicine, and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. The hospital provides centers of excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, digestive disorders, radiology and diagnostic imaging.  The hospital has a national reputation for providing the highest levels of care, value in care provided and its patient-centered approach.  Visit Danbury Hospital online at

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 600-bed academic medical center and the principal hospital of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ.  A leader in advancing state-of-the-art care, RWJUH is the first hospital in the nation to implant the AbioCor self-contained artificial heart since the device received FDA approval in 2006.  Today, RWJUH is one of only three sites in the nation approved to offer this groundbreaking technology.  The hospital's Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, and women's and children's care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (  The hospital is also a Level 1 Trauma Center and serves as a national resource in its innovative approaches to emergency preparedness. 

The hospital has earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety: 

• For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named RWJUH as one of "America's Best Hospitals." 

• The American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH among the best comprehensive cancer centers. 

• The Leapfrog Group has recognized RWJUH as one of the 50 exceptional hospitals, as published in Consumers Digest magazine. 

• Harvard University researchers, in a study commissioned by The Commonwealth Fund, identified RWJUH as one of the top 10 hospitals for clinical quality. 

• RWJUH has also received the Magnet Award for Nursing Excellence four times, spanning more than 10 consecutive years.

Visit RWJUH online at


The Advisory Board Company's CRIMSON web-based services, which combine business intelligence technology with best practice implementation, now support more than 375 individual hospitals representing more than 133,000 physician users.  To learn more about CRIMSON services, visit

About The Advisory Board Company

The Advisory Board Company is a research, consulting, and technology services firm focused on the health care and higher education industries.  We partner with executives and their teams through a unique membership model and serve a network of over 2,900 organizations.  When faced with their toughest challenges, executives turn to The Advisory Board Company for strategic guidance and performance improvement solutions.  For more information, visit

SOURCE The Advisory Board Company
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