February 7, 2006

Helping Folks Choose a Hospital

If you are on Medicare and need certain procedures performed you might be better off to choose a highly ranked hospital (Free Reg):

A health-care rating company here said today that patients treated at hospitals that receive its top ranking have a 27% lower risk of dying during their hospital stay.

Moreover, according to HealthGrades, which compiles quality report cards on hospitals and doctors and sells those reports to consumers, patients treated at its top-ranked hospitals also have a 14% lower risk of complications.

HealthGrades used the Medicare discharge records from 2002, 2003 and 2004 to rank hospitals based on overall performance of risk-adjusted outcomes associated with 26 common Medicare inpatient procedures and diagnoses.

But why does the MedPage Today Action Point (included with each MedPage article) say this?
Explain to patients who ask that HealthGrades is a private company. Its rankings system is not sanctioned by federal or state government.
Does this mean that we should find the ranking system more trustworthy? That is certainly the way I interpret this. The staff writer and reviewer could have done a bit better.

Most of HealthGrades' rankings are based on Medicare patients so it is not clear that the results can be extended to younger patients though I'd certainly use this information to help with such decisions.

BTW, where is the google of health care? We need rating and evaluation systems that lets us, the consumers, evaluate hospital and individual physicians based on fees, performance and customer ratings.

Posted by Steve on February 7, 2006
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