How Hos­pi­tals Make The Grade

Health & Nutrition - - HEALTHCARE SPECIAL -

All hos­pi­tals are not cre­ated equal. Ac­cord­ing to an Amer­i­can study, pa­tients in lower-rated hos­pi­tals had a 72% greater chance of dy­ing and an 80% greater chance of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a hos­pi­tal-ac­quired com­pli­ca­tion than those in higher-rated hos­pi­tals. You don’t need to travel to one of the top hos­pi­tals in the na­tion to re­ceive qual­ity care. But you should con­sider sev­eral im­por­tant fac­tors when choos­ing among the hos­pi­tals in your area. Clearly, more data can help you in your ef­forts to choose the best hos­pi­tal for your needs. But which num­bers re­ally mat­ter? Death and com­pli­ca­tion rates – the lower the bet­ter – are im­por­tant to con­sider. But keep in mind that sta­tis­tics can be mis­lead­ing. Some of the best hos­pi­tals have high mor­tal­ity and com­pli­ca­tion rates, not be­cause of med­i­cal er­rors and safety is­sues, but be­cause they take on the sick­est and most dif­fi­cult-to-treat pa­tients. Other sta­tis­tics, such as nurse-to-pa­tient ra­tio (six to 10 pa­tients for ev­ery nurse is con­sid­ered ideal) and rates of hos­pi­tal-ac­quired in­fec­tions (which should be zero or near zero), of­fer sim­pler barom­e­ters of pa­tient care. Good hos­pi­tals will also make their rat­ings and sta­tis­tics on com­pli­ca­tions, in­fec­tions, staffing, and mor­tal­ity ac­ces­si­ble to the public on the hos­pi­tal’s own web­site or through a sim­ple phone call. Be sure to get data on the spe­cific treat­ment that is rel­e­vant to you. If you need coro­nary artery by­pass graft­ing surgery, for in­stance, ask about the sur­vival and com­pli­ca­tion rates as­so­ci­ated with that pro­ce­dure.

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