Individuals are far less likely to die or suffer complications at hospitals that received the highest rating from Healthgrades, the company reported.
Each year an estimated 234,252 lives could be saved and 157,418 complications could be avoided if all hospitals performed similarly to the highest-rated hospitals, according to the Healthgrades American Hospital Quality Outcomes 2014: Report to the Nation.
The report, a comprehensive analysis of three years of Medicare outcomes data of 40 million patient records from 4,500 hospitals nationwide, shows that a patients chance of suffering a complication or even death is substantially greater at hospitals receiving Healthgrades one-star rating when compared with hospitals receiving a five-star rating.
In fact, the variation in outcomes differs widely between hospitals within the same community. For example, Healthgrades evaluated 33 hospitals in Atlanta and found that stroke mortality rates were 17 times higher in hospitals receiving one star than in hospitals receiving five stars.
Specifically, the report found a significantly lower risk of dying at a hospital receiving the highest rating for six mortality-based procedures and conditions: COPD (81% lower risk of dying), colorectal surgeries (70.4%), pneumonia (65.9%), stroke (54.6%), myocardial infarction (48.1%) and sepsis (41.9%).
The report also found a significantly lower risk of having a complication at a hospital receiving a five-star rating versus those hospitals receiving a one-star rating in four primary complication-based procedures and conditions: hip replacement (69.1% lower risk of having a complication), carotid surgery (66.9%), total knee replacement (63.4%) and gallbladder removal surgery (52.5%).
The report highlights a link between higher rates of complications and death and an increase in associated direct costs for hospitals. The direct costs of caring for a patient who experiences a complication are, on average, nearly twice as high as the cost of caring for patients who did not experience a complication, according to the report.
Hospitals can improve outcomes and lower direct costs by using these findings to focus efforts on improving performance, according to Healthgrades, a leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Patients can meaningfully influence their healthcare outcomes by doing their homework to ensure they are making informed choices.
Report access: www.healthgrades.com/quality