In two recent surveys, Trident Medical Center topped all the other Lowcountry hospitals.
The Joint Commission named 20 hospitals in South Carolina among the nation's top performers earlier this month, but Trident Medical Center in North Charleston was the only local hospital to make the annual list.
"We applaud their commitment to deliver the right treatment, in the right way, at the right time for patients," said Dr. Mark Chassin, president of The Joint Commission, in a prepared statement about the top performing hospitals. "We also look forward to continuing to work together to accelerate further health care improvement."
The Leapfrog Group, which also releases a widely read hospital survey every year, gave Trident Medical Center an "A" in October. It was the only hospital in the area to receive Leapfrog's highest grade.
Trident Medical Center CEO Todd Gallati said a new computerized physician order entry system, which eliminates many errors, contributed to the recent recognition. Also, the hospital now employs intensive care doctors in its intensive care unit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, he said, which boosted its score.
"We have not been, per se, chasing these rankings. I think they're a nice recognition at the end of the day for our staff and for our physicians," Gallati said.
Hospital surveys - and there are many of them - are considered among most experts an imperfect way to judge how a facility measures up. Each uses different metrics to calculate the final results and, to regular consumers, the methodology for any particular survey isn't usually very clear.
For example, the annual U.S. News & World Report hospital rankings, which have long been considered the industry's gold standard, recently changed the way it identifies top hospitals.
For many years, Medical University Hospital was named the No. 1 medical center in the state on that list, but it was toppled by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in July. Trident Medical Center didn't make the U.S. News rankings at all.
Even Gallati acknowledged that hospital rankings only tell part of the story.
"I think there's various ways that people kind of determine what hospitals or what physicians they're going to use. I think rankings play a part of it," he said. Physician recommendations probably matter more than anything else, he said.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.