An annual study of hospital quality in America that examined 41 million hospitalization records at 5,000 hospitals over a three-year period is showing that mortality rates improve nationally and that they are 71% lower at top-rated hospitals.
The tenth annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, has already being issued today by HealthGrades, a company that dedicates to measure healthcare ratings.
According to the study, mortality rates at America’s hospitals have improved 11.8 percent from 2004 to 2006, with the nation’s top-rated hospitals improving at a faster rate (12.8 percent) than the lowest rated hospitals (11.4 percent).
The HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study analyzed mortality rates of 18 procedures and conditions: atrial fibrillation, bowel obstruction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary bypass surgery, coronary interventional procedures (angioplasty/stent), diabetic acidosis and coma, gastrointestinal bleed, gastrointestinal surgeries and procedures, heart attack, heart failure, pancreatitis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, resection/replacement of the abdominal aorta, respiratory failure, sepsis, stroke, and valve replacement surgery.
Some procedures and conditions were found to have the most improvement in mortality rates. Among them: pancreatitis (19.2 percent), pulmonary embolism (17.4 percent), and diabetic acidosis and coma (16.6 percent). Those with the smallest improvement were resection/replacement of the abdominal aorta (0.4 percent), coronary interventional procedures such as angioplasties and stents (0.8 percent), and heart attack treatment (8.9 percent).
State and regional variations were found in the study:
* The East North Central Region (IL, IN, MI, OH and WI) was the region with the lowest overall mortality while the East South Central region (AL, KY, MS and TN) had the highest mortality.
* The West South Central region (AR, LA, OK and TX) had the most overall improvement for all procedures and conditions. The least improvement was seen in the Mountain region (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NE, NV, NM, UT, and WY), with a decline of 8.8 percent.
* The East North Central region (IL, IN, MI, OH, and WI), had the highest percentage of best-performing hospitals
* Less than 7% of hospitals within the East South Central region (AL, KY, MS, and TN) and the New England region (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT) were top-performing hospitals.
Samantha Collier, MD, HealthGrades’ chief medical officer and one of the authors of the study wrote, “While we are pleased to see that the hospital industry’s focus on improving care quality has continued to reduce mortality rates, a significant variation in quality among the nation’s best and poorest-performing hospitals persists,”
She believes that hospitals on the lower level should adopt strategies that top hospitals carry out. This way, improvements in mortality rates should be achieved. Also, she believes that targeting foe areas in hospitals (heart failure, respiratory failure, sepsis, and pneumonia) a 50% improvement in quality could be achieved saving many lives.