Patients treated at top-rated hospitals had a lower risk of death, complications.
A new Healthgrades 2018 analysis of top hospitals shows thousands of lives could be saved if all hospitals performed at a similar level to those rated as five-star facilities.
Healthgrades analyzed the performance of roughly 4,500 short-term acute carehospitals nationwide, evaluating hospital performance connected to 34 common conditions and procedures.
Significant variations in clinical quality and outcomes rose to the surface. First, the results showed patients treated at five-star rated hospitals had a lower risk of dying or experiencing one or more complications during their hospital stay than if they were treated at one-star rated hospitals in that procedure or condition.
“From 2014 to 2016, if all hospitals as a group performed similarly to hospitals receiving 5-stars as a group, on average 219,568 lives could potentially have been saved and 164,454 complications could potentially have been avoided,” Healthgrades said.
Four components constituted a city’s rank: 19.6 percent – Access to Care, 17.1 percent – Risky Behaviors, 11.2 percent – Hospital Quality, 43.4 percent – Population Health. Access to care took into account such things as number of active primary care physicians per 100,000 residents, percentage of people who did not indicate they felt cost restricted in their ability to see a doctor in the last 12 months and the percentage of people with some form of health insurance.
Risky behaviors included such things as the percentage of people who not drink heavily or binge drink. Hospital quality encompassed the average percent of five-star hospitals and the percentage of hospitals receiving a 2018 Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence and their average score.
Additionally, patients’ risk for complications and mortality with common surgeries varies, and the hospital they choose can have a big impact on that risk. Patients having surgery in five-star hospitals had a lower risk of complication or death than if they were treated in a one-star hospital for the same procedure. Surprisingly, hospitals within close proximity from each other can vary widely for complication and mortality rates for the same condition or procedure.
“We observed that communities are healthier when they have access to high-quality hospitals, so while many consumers only think about their local hospitals in times of emergencies, there really is long-term benefit to the health of the population when access to top-notch hospitals is high,” said Bowman.
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