Trilliant Health unveils new hospital benchmarking tool

Trilliant Health says its SimilarityIndex now benchmarks hospitals to help inform evidence-based strategic planning for competitive analysis, mergers and acquisitions, clinical quality program management and other strategic initiatives.


The machine learning-powered index is intended to reveal which hospitals are most similar based on factors including quality, operations and financial results with the goal of fundamentally changing how healthcare executives set their goals based on their peers and develop strategies that are mathematically-based, according to Brentwood, Tennessee-based Trilliant.

“Over time, these ‘Top 100’ lists designed for consumer-marketing purposes have been incorporated into strategic planning, even though arbitrary rankings that incorporate self-reported survey data and subjective measures such as ‘perceived prestige’ are inadequate to compare hospitals,” explained Dr. Sanjula Jain, Trilliant Health chief research officer and SVP of market strategy, in a statement.

Using the index’s data visualizer, healthcare stakeholders can learn how similar a selected hospital is to – or far from – the most highly regarded U.S. hospitals, based on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services quality metrics and healthcare-associated infection data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Metrics include the 30-day mortality rate, expiration discharge, 30-day readmission rate and the hospital acquired condition reduction score values found in CMS Care Compare. 

The tool shows how hospitals can be peers in quality and peers to a completely different group of hospitals in another category.

“The fact that Johns Hopkins Hospital and Cedars-Sinai are both frequently in a ‘Top 10’ list does not mean that they are comparable in every respect, and neither is a relevant peer for the vast majority of U.S. hospitals because of differences in patient acuity, payer mix, market competition and more,” said Jain.

The SimilarityIndex | Hospitals index Quality Peers scores show how hospitals are similar or dissimilar to each other in clinical quality.

To benchmark hospitals on a national scale, the engine also offers Aggregate Peers scores which combine quality with other metrics – outpatient service line, financial similarity, patient mix and market share.

The results reflow when the user selects to omit up to three metrics – readmissions, mortality, expiration discharge or HAC score.

Users can select a hospital to benchmark against, and then choose to find quality peers or aggregate peers and reveal a list of the most similar hospitals and their similarity scores against the selected benchmark.

The engine calculates the mathematical distance between hospitals as a function of the full set of variables – the geometric distance, or normalized Euclidean distance. 


Consumer-directed health, where patients are able to choose the best options for themselves and their families, requires access to information about the quality and cost of physicians, hospitals, services and health plans.

CMS offers its Overall Quality Hospital Star Ratings on Care Compare, but delayed the release  this year to correct a 2021 calculation error. 

Of the more than 4,500 U.S. hospitals, about 70% reported on measures for overall hospital quality, with more than half assessed in the three and four star ratings.

The U.S. News & World Report evaluates thousands of hospitals based on selected specialities and widely-performed procedures and conditions to define the best hospitals by specialty and overall. Using data from CMS, the American Hospital Association and others as well as physician surveys, the annual review looks at metrics like survival rates and patient experiences.

“Historically, healthcare decision-makers have relied on lists like U.S. News & World Report ‘Hospital Honor Roll,’ Healthgrades and others to justify business strategies or compare themselves to ‘aspirational’ peers,” said Trilliant in the announcement. “However, these approaches lack critical data inputs, important context and adequate benchmarking elements, which can often result in arbitrary, incomplete and even irrelevant comparisons.”


“Effective strategic planning first requires an accurate understanding of the current situation, and benchmarking against relevant peers is essential to forming evidence-based strategies,” said Trilliant Health CEO Hal Andrews in a statement. “The healthcare industry is both capital-intensive and capital constrained, and applying mathematical rigor to benchmarking and strategic planning reduces the risk of suboptimal capital allocation.”

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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