Sarasota Memorial Hospital named one of nation’s 50 top hospitals for heart care

Data analyzed from nearly 1,000 acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals

The Sarasota Memorial complex is on U.S. 41 in Sarasota. Photo courtesy Sarasota Memorial Health Care

On Nov. 17, Watson Health® named Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) to its 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals list, which honors medical centers for inpatient heart services, SMH has announced.

“Sarasota Memorial Hospital was the only Suncoast hospital that made the 2021 list, which is based on quality indicators and clinical outcomes for Medicare patients who received heart care in 2018 and 2019,” a news release explains.

“More than 7,000 lives could be saved and more than 5,000 heart patients could be complication free if all hospitals performed at the level of Sarasota Memorial and the other top 50 award winners, the Watson Health study reported,” as noted in the news release. Compared to medical centers with similar cardiovascular services, the release says, this year’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals winners demonstrated the following:

  • Better survival rates.
  • Fewer patient complications.
  • Fewer health care-associated infections.
  • Lower 30-day mortality and readmission rates.
  • Shorter lengths of stay.
  • Lower inpatient expenses.

“While heart disease remains the leading cause of death for all Americans, this year’s Watson Health study emphasized that heart disease has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, rural populations and other underserved groups, and that the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital winners are setting the standard for high-quality patient care,” the release points out.

“In this light, cardiovascular care with an emphasis on health equity is essential,” said IBM Watson Health Chief Health Officer Kyu Rhee in the release. “We believe that these top institutions are leading the effort to enhance and evolve the way we treat and prevent this disease.”

Watson Health conducts the annual quantitative research using the latest available Medicare data to identify the nation’s highest-performing hospitals and health systems, the release explains. It analyzes the data in regard to the following, the release adds:

  • Heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction).
  • Heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft).
  • Cardiac catheterization procedures (percutaneous coronary intervention).
  • Heart failure.

This is the second top hospital award Sarasota Memorial has received from Watson Health this year and one in a series dating back to 2002, the release points out. “In June, Watson Health named Sarasota Memorial a 100 Top Hospital for overall quality and safety. Hospitals do not apply for the honor, and winners do not pay to market it,” the release explains.

The release of the 2021 Fortune/IBM Watson Health 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals list also spotlights hospitals that participate in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG) programs, which promote evidence-based guidelines and improved patient care, the release notes. “SMH is one of just 19 hospitals on this year’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals list to receive the additional recognition by the AHA for top-notch cardiovascular care,” the release adds.

“I could not be more proud of our cardiac team and entire staff,” said Sarasota Memorial Hospital CEO David Verinder in the release. “From physicians and nurses to therapists, technologists and support staff, they work diligently every day to deliver high-quality patient care and continue to serve our community in unprecedented ways during this pandemic.”

“Watson Health based its analysis on publicly available data from nearly 1,000 acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals that treat a broad spectrum of cardiology patients,” the release says. For more information on the Watson Health 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals, visit the website at