Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hospital Compare -- It makes a difference

Would you like to know if your hospital will give you the recommended treatment? Do you think your life might depend on it? Would you like to know about the performance of hospitals in your area? The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has on online service called Hospital Compare. On the home page it states:
In this tool you will find information on how well hospitals care for patients with certain medical conditions or surgical procedures, and results from a survey of patients about the quality of care they received during a recent hospital stay. This information will help you compare the quality of care hospitals provide. Talk to your doctor about this information to help you, your family and your friends make your best hospital care decisions.
So, to get started, I clicked on search and compare. I put in my zip code and began to look a the ratings of nearby hospitals. I was asked to chose up to three hospitals to compare. I chose the three I had been to most frequently for friends and family members. Very interesting.

For example, here was one category: Percent of patients who got treatment at the right time (within 24 hours before or after their surgery) to help prevent blood clots after certain types of surgery. What do you think the percentages were? As a matter of fact the percentages went from a low of 69% to a high of only 81%. That means that almost twenty to thirty percent of all patients at those hospitals did not get the right treatment at the right time!!! Now you know, you might be in that thirty percent.

Here is another example: the Percent of Heart Failure Patients Given Discharge Instructions. In one hospital this figure was only 61%. Do I really want to go there if I have a heart attack?

Here's another good one, Percent of patients who reported that their room and bathroom were "Always" clean. What do you think this come out? a low of 60%. Yuck.

After looking at this Website, you just might decide to change hospitals.

1 comment:

Jared said...

The only problem is that is based on a survey of patients, which means that it's likely not very accurate. After dealing with people in health care settings, I've learned that what people think has or has not been done for them often does not match reality. Part of the problem lies with medical personnel who don't always make sure people understand directions or what treatments they are receiving. That's pretty impractical though because it could take a long time of talking with patients to help them understand - that time is not always available.

I've met many people who have complaints about their care but who are not willing to follow medical advice. They say not enough was done but then they don't put forth good effort to do what they are asked to do. That's why I suspect those numbers a bit. Doctors and hospitals are not perfect but I'd be surprised if the actual percent of under- or wrong-care was more than 10% at most hospitals. Besides, there are many things that can affect what care people receive, including their insurance companies - some of which require time to approve treatments.