HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

52 Percent Lower Chance of Dying At Top-Rated Hospitals According to New Study

According to the HealthGrades Report on patient outcomes at 5000 hospitals, the quality gap continues. Patients who have access to high quality hospitals have a 52% lower chance of dying.

As reported in ScienceDaily, the study also found the following:

  • Overall, inhospital, risk-adjusted mortality at the nation's hospitals improved, on average, 10.99% from 2006 through 2008.
  • Across all 17 procedures and diagnoses in which mortality was studied, there was an approximate 71.64% lower chance of dying in a five-star rated hospital compared to a one-star rated hospital.
  • Across all 17 procedures and diagnoses studied, there was an approximate 51.53% lower chance of dying in a five-star rated hospital compared to the national average.
  • If all hospitals performed at the level of a five-star rated hospital across the 17 procedures and diagnoses studied, 224,537 Medicare lives could potentially have been saved from 2006 through 2008.
  • Approximately 57% (127,488) of the potentially preventable deaths were associated with just four diagnoses: sepsis (44,622); pneumonia (29,251); heart failure (26,374) and respiratory failure (27,241).
  • Over the last three studies, Ohio and Florida consistently have had the greatest percentage of hospitals in the top 15% for risk-adjusted mortality. 
  • Across all procedures in which complications were studied, there was a 79.69% lower chance of experiencing one or more inhospital complications in a five-star rated hospital compared to a one-star rated hospital.
  • Across all procedures studied, there was a 61.22% lower chance of experiencing one or more inhospital complications in a five-star rated hospital compared to the U.S. hospital average.
  • If all hospitals performed at the level of a five-star rated hospital, 110,687 orthopedic inhospital complications may have been avoided among Medicare patients over the three years studied. 
  • Joint Commission stroke-certified hospitals were almost twice as likely to attain five-star status in stroke (30.1% of certified hospitals were five-star versus 15.7% of non-certified), and fewer of the stroke-certified hospitals fell into the one-star category (12.3% versus 19.6%).
  • Joint Commission stroke-certified hospitals have an 8.06% lower risk-adjusted mortality rate compared to hospitals that were not stroke-certified.

The HeathGrades Report is based on the following process:

HealthGrades rates each of the nation's 5,000 nonfederal hospitals in nearly 30 procedures and diagnoses, allowing individuals to compare their local hospitals online at http://www.healthgrades.com. The ratings are objective, created from data provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and 17 states that publish outcomes data. HealthGrades' hospital ratings are independently created; no hospital can opt-in or opt-out of being rated. No hospital pays to be rated. Each hospital receives a one-, three- or five-star rating for each procedure or diagnosis, reflecting the mortality or complication rates at that hospital. Mortality and complication rates are risk-adjusted, which takes into account differing levels of severity of patient illness at different hospitals and allows for hospitals to be compared on equal footing.

[KVT]


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