Access to objective, third-party information is critical to today’s health consumer, and being able to compare quality of care enables patients to make informed decisions about where to access it.
Since 1998, HealthGrades has helped consumers make informed health decisions by providing them with the ability to research quality information on hospitals and providers. Each year, HealthGrades determines risk-adjusted mortality and inhospital complication rates among the nation’s hospitals to evaluate performance. To determine performance, HealthGrades analyzed approximately 40 million Medicare discharges at nearly every U.S. hospital between 2008 and 2010. HealthGrades assigned each hospital a star rating across 27 procedures and diagnosis, ranging from pneumonia to heart failure to hip replacement. For each, hospitals are assigned a 5-star (best), 3-star (as expected) or 1-star (poor) rating.
Congratulations to the team at Prince George’s Hospital recipients of the following HealthGrades Quality Awards:
Stroke, also known as Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), is the result of a sudden reduction of blood flow to an area of the brain. When this happens, sensation, movement, abilities, or functions controlled by that area of the brain become impaired or lost. About 90 percent of strokes are ischemic infarctions (a sudden clot or buildup within the brain) and 10 percent are hemorrhagic (a rupture or breakage of a blood vessel within the brain).For most strokes, symptoms develop within a few minutes to an hour and continue for more than 24 hours; the effects are permanent in some cases. The eventual amount of neurologic damage depends on age, state of health, and the size and location of the stroke. In the U.S., approximately 200 people per 100,000 population will experience a stroke. The incidence increases dramatically with age and is higher in men than in women. Multiple strokes are common.
Across the nine common procedures for which complication rates were studied, a typical patient was 63% less likely to experience inhospital complications than patients at a 1-star program, and had a 43% lower chance of developing an inhospital complication when compared to the national average. If all Medicare patients from 2008 to 2010 had been treated at 5-star hospitals for their procedure, 164,472 inhospital complications could have potentially been avoided.
For the 18 procedures and diagnoses for which mortality rates were studied, a typical patient at a 5-star hospital had a 73% lower risk of dying when compared to a 1-star hospital and a 54% lower risk of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared to the national average. Furthermore, if all Medicare patients from 2008 through 2010 had been treated at 5-star hospitals, 240,040 lives could have potentially be saved.
A complete methodology for the study can be found here.
Emerging Trends in Online Engagement: Healthcare Consumerism
In an era of increased transparency in healthcare, consumers are demanding this kind of independent quality information in order to make more informed health decisions. Consumers are looking for health information on the web to quickly and efficiently do qualitative comparisons on a doctor or hospital before booking an appointment or scheduling a procedure. According to the Pew Internet Project, 59% of all adults in the United States look for health information online.*
Why Quality Matters
Choosing a hospital for even for a simple, routine procedure can be a life or death decision, and the key element that determines a patient’s outcome for any given procedure or diagnosis is a hospital’s adherence to quality measures.
The internet has bolstered choice and allowed patients, as consumers, to make informed decisions under the common understanding that quality care varies from hospital to hospital. Each month, 11 million unique visitors** come to HealthGrades.com. In conjunction with the annual report, HealthGrades evaluated characteristics of patients coming to the site.
Findings from this first-ever HealthGrades analysis confirmed what other studies have already shown: patients are concerned about the quality of care in their community (as many as 80% of HealthGrades.com visitors), and 42% believe that their chances of having an unexpected death or complication is higher for some of their local hospitals than for others.
These empowered and participatory patients that make up HealthGrades’ search traffic were also aggregated into a per capita reading of markets with the most unique visitors to determine the Top 50 Cities for Patient Web Use.
Through their access to quality information, today’s healthcare consumer is more empowered than ever before. The ability to choose where they receive their care helps patients to be more active in their own health and the health of their loved ones, and gives hospitals the opportunity to further connect with patients through a continued focus on quality.
*Pew Internet and American Life Project, February 2011
** Omniture, August 2011