Hospital selection can dramatically impact a patient's health, according to the new Healthgrades American Hospital Quality Outcomes 2014: Report to the Nation.
The report demonstrates that individuals are far more likely to die or suffer complications at hospitals receiving the lowest Healthgrades rating. In fact, each year an estimated 234,252 lives could potentially be saved and 157,418 complications could be avoided if all hospitals performed similarly to the highest rated hospitals.
The report, which is a comprehensive analysis of three years of Medicare outcomes data of 40 million patient records from 4,500 hospitals nationwide, shows that a patient's chance of suffering a complication – or even death – is substantially greater at hospitals receiving Healthgrades one star rating when compared to hospitals receiving a five star rating.
In fact, the variation in outcomes differs widely between hospitals within the same community. For example, Healthgrades evaluated 33 hospitals in Atlanta and found that stroke mortality rates were 17 times higher in hospitals receiving one star versus hospitals receiving five stars.
"We urge consumers to do their homework when choosing a plan to find out which physicians are covered and whether or not the physician practices at a hospital with a low risk of mortality or complications," said Roger Holstein, chief executive officer of Healthgrades. "Choosing a plan is not just about cost. The most important factor is quality. Consumers should pick their providers before choosing a plan and Healthgrades should be their first stop."
Healthgrades, quality outcomes, Medicare, hospital selection