GOLDEN, Colo. (January 29, 2007) Patients treated at top-rated hospitals nationwide have nearly a one-third better chance of surviving, on average, than those admitted to all other hospitals, according to a study released today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company. Patients who undergo surgery at these high-performing hospitals also have an average five percent lower risk of complications during their stay, researchers found.
The annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study, now in its fifth year, identifies hospitals in the top five percent nationally in terms of mortality and complication rates for 26 procedures and diagnoses, from bypass surgery to stroke. Hospitals achieving this level of care quality are designated Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence by HealthGrades and are identified on the organization's consumer Web site, HealthGrades.com.
Disparities in the level of care patients receive, based simply on where they choose to seek treatment, highlight a troubling phenomenon in the U.S. healthcare system: a preventable, but growing gap between high-quality hospitals and the rest of the field.
The 2007 study found that 158,264 lives may have been saved and 12,409 major complications avoided, had the quality of care at all hospitals matched the level of those in the top five percent.
To name hospitals in the top five percent for clinical excellence, the HealthGrades' study analyzes nearly 39 million hospitalizations over the years 2003, 2004 and 2005 at all 5,122 of the nation's nonfederal hospitals.
In comparing Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence with all other hospitals, the HealthGrades study finds: