Study: The hospital quality gap is real

Dive Brief:

  • Patients admitted to low-performing hospitals are three times more likely to die and 13 times more likely to experience complications than patients admitted to high-performing hospitals, according to a study published this week in PLOS ONE.

  • Researchers used data from more than 22 million hospital admissions and analyzed outcomes for 24 specific conditions to reach their conclusion.

  • Results showed that some of the worst performing hospitals predominantly served white, high-income populations while some of the best performing hospitals predominantly served minority, low-income populations.

Dive Insight:

It is well established that the quality of care patients receive varies from hospital to hospital. Results to this study, led by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), show just how large variations in care can be from one hospital to the next.

Following certain acute events, such as a health attack or stroke, patients were more than twice as likely to die if they received treatment at a hospital in the bottom 10% of performers than at a hospital in the top 10% of performers. Patients were also much more likely to experience complications, such as central line infections or postoperative sepsis, at low performing hospitals.

Researchers did not reveal hospitals included in the study. However, they suggested that these results show the need for transparency when it comes to quality. Most of the attention paid to geographic variation and transparency in healthcare has focused on cost and utilization. If hospitals publicly shared data on outcomes, it would encourage efforts to improve quality of care, Dr. Stefan Larsson, a BCG senior partner and managing director of the BCG Payer and Provider practice, said in a statement.

Filed Under: Hospital Administration Practice Management
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