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Consumer Reports has released safety scores for U.S. hospitals by combining five key measures into one composite score from 1 to 100. The score gives consumers a way to compare hospitals on patient safety.
Consumer Reports’ hospital Safety Score is comprised of five categories: mortality, readmissions, overuse of CT scans, hospital-acquired infections, and communication. Within the mortality component of the Safety Score, there are two specific measures of hospital mortality:
• medical mortality, in patients who have had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart failure or pneumonia and who die within 30 days of entering the hospital;
• surgical mortality, for surgery patients who had serious but treatable complications, such as blood clots in the legs or lungs, or cardiac arrest, and died in the hospital.
The data for all of the Safety Score components are the most recent available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Mortality, readmission, and scanning apply to patients 65 or older; communication applies to all adults; and hospital-acquired infections applies to all ages. Data for hospital-acquired infections is reported by hospitals to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), then to the public through CMS’s Medicare.gov website (Hospital Compare).
In medical mortality, only 35 hospitals earned Consumer Reports’ top rating, while 66 received the lowest rating. By contrast, more hospitals did well in surgical mortality with 173 earning Consumer Reports’ top rating, versus 228 hospitals receiving the lowest rating. However the results are similarly sobering: For every 1,000 surgical patients who develop serious complications in a top-rated hospital, 87 or fewer die. But in a low-rated one, more than 132 die. Surgical patients in top-rated hospitals are at least 34% less likely to die than similar patients in low- rated hospitals.
The article is available in the May issue of Consumer Reports and online at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/05/index.htm.