Top-rated hospitals reduce risk of dying by 70 percent

October 14th, 2008 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 14 (IANS) Patients had a 70 percent lower chance of dying at top-rated hospitals as compared with the lowest-ranked ones, according to a new American survey. The 11th annual survey of quality examined 41 million patient records at 5,000 hospitals over three years.

While overall death rates declined from 2005 to 2007, the country’s best-performing hospitals were able to reduce their death rates at a much faster rate than poorly performing hospitals, resulting in large state, regional and hospital-to-hospital variations in the quality of patient care, the study found.

HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study found that if all hospitals performed at the level of five-star rated hospitals, 237,420 deaths could potentially have averted over the three years studied.

More than half of those deaths were associated with four conditions: sepsis (a life-threatening illness caused by systemic response to infection), pneumonia, heart failure and respiratory failure, according to a HealthGrades statement.

“If our nation’s hospitals are to close the quality gap and guarantee an equally high level of medical care for every patient, no matter where he or she lives, it will require a commitment by our nation and its communities to demand more from quality improvement,” said Samantha Collier, HealthGrades’ chief medical officer and a co-author of the study.

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