Thousands of lives could be saved every year if all hospitals performed at a similar level to those rated as five-star facilities, according to a new Healthgrades 2018 analysis of top hospitals.
Healthgrades, which provides an online resource on the performance of physicians and hospitals, analyzed the performance of 4,500 short-term acute care hospitals nationwide, evaluating hospital performance connected to 34 common conditions and procedures.
Its analysis concludes that significant variation in health outcomes continue to exist among hospitals nationwide. (More information on the Healthgrades rankings is available online at: http://bit.ly/2m9kwP7.)
The data indicate that patients treated at hospitals receiving a five-star rating have a lower risk of dying and a lower risk of experiencing one or more complications during a hospital stay than if they were treated at hospitals receiving a one-star rating in that procedure or condition.
From 2014-2016, if all hospitals as a group performed similarly to hospitals receiving five stars as a group, on average, 219,568 lives could potentially have been saved and 164,454 complications could potentially have been avoided, Healthgrades reports.
Patients also have varying relative risk for complications and mortality with common surgeries. The choice of hospital, however, can have a significant effect on this risk.
Patients undergoing surgery in hospitals rated five stars will have a lower risk of experiencing a complication or dying than if they were treated in a hospital rated as one star for that same procedure, according to the Healthgrades data.
Hospitals close to each other can have significant differences in complication and mortality rates for the same condition or procedure, notes Brad Bowman, MD, Healthgrades chief medical officer.
“Many consumers believe that hospital quality is standardized, though the reality is that clinical quality and outcomes at hospitals vary widely across the country,” Bowman said in a statement accompanying the data. “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.”