Summary: “Not all hospitals are created equal, and the differences in quality can be a matter of life or death,” Reed Abelson writes over at The New York Times. “In the first comprehensive study comparing how well individual hospitals treated a variety of medical conditions, researchers found that patients at the worst American hospitals were three times more likely to die and 13 times more likely to have medical complications than if they visited one of the best hospitals. The study, published Wednesday in the academic journal PLOS One, shows ‘there is considerable variation in outcomes that really matter to patients, from hospital to hospital, as well as region to region,’ said Dr. Thomas H. Lee, a longtime health care executive who was not involved in the research. The study’s authors looked at 22 million hospital admissions, including information from both the federal Medicare program and private insurance companies, and analyzed them using two dozen measures of medical outcomes. Adjusting the results for how sick the patients were and other factors, like age and income, the researchers discovered widespread differences among hospitals. Even a hospital that had excellent outcomes for heart care might have poor outcomes in treating diabetes. The study did not disclose which hospitals had which results. Under the terms of the agreement to receive the data, the researchers agreed to keep the identities of the hospitals confidential.” Reed Abelson, “Go to the Wrong Hospital and You’re 3 Times More Likely to Die,” The New York Times.
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