Healthgrades: Hospital quality varies widely throughout the country
Healthgrades released its latest analysis of top quality hospitals that included its National Health Index, which listed the 25 healthiest U.S. cities. It showed that hospitals close to each other “can have significant differences in complication and mortality rates for the same condition or procedure.”
Healthgrades found that patients treated at five-star rated hospitals have a lower fatality rate and a lower risk of experiencing one or more complications during a hospital stay compared to one-star rated facilities.
The analysis found that between 2014 and 2016 an average of 219,568 lives could have been saved and 164,454 complications avoided by all patients receiving care at five-star hospitals.
Healthgrades evaluated 4,500 short-term acute care hospitals and assessed performance related to 34 common conditions and procedures. The report found that patients who had surgeries in five-star hospitals have a lower risk of experiencing a complication or dying than those treated at one-star hospitals.
Dr. Brad Bowman, chief medical officer at Healthgrades, said clinical quality and outcomes vary widely, but consumers “can arm themselves with trusted information and tools” to make wise healthcare decisions.
Tools like Healthgrades help patients choose healthcare and are changing how providers and hospitals think about reputation management. After ignoring or getting miffed at online reviews and ratings, providers and healthcare organizations are now tackling the issue, Garrett Thompson, vice president of client strategy at Influence Health, recently told Healthcare Dive.
A hospital’s marketing department can keep tabs of the brand’s online reputation and notify the C-suite when there’s a problem. “We recommend to marketers to look for these themes and then take that back to operational,” Thompson told Healthcare Dive.
Healthgrades also released its National Health Index. The company developed the index by compiling industry metrics, including Healthgrades’ high-quality hospital data, as well as information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association of American Medical Colleges. They analyzed access to care, access to quality hospitals, population health and risky behaviors in devising their city list.
Healthgrades ranked Minneapolis/St. Paul as the healthiest city. Denver and Sacramento rounded out the top three. Boston ranked number one for the highest number of primary care providers per 100,000 population.
“We observed that communities are healthier when they have access to high-quality hospitals, so while many consumers only think about their local hospitals in times of emergencies, there really is long-term benefit to the health of the population when access to top-notch hospitals is high,” said Bowman.