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Top-rated hospitals don't always have superior outcomes
Date:1/26/2010

CHICAGO (January 26, 2010) New research published in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons finds that while popular hospital rating systems can help identify high-quality hospitals for cardiovascular operations, patients can achieve similar outcomes by seeking care at high-volume hospitals closer to home.

Hospital quality ratings have become a source of bragging rights for many hospitals, and they receive substantial attention from both the public and media. Two of the most recognized ratings are the U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Hospitals" and HealthGrades' "America's 50 Best Hospitals." Although patients and caregivers increasingly use these quality ratings to choose hospitals, the relationship between ratings and outcomes remains unclear. This research is the first of its kind that addresses the important question of whether surgical outcomes at the highly rated hospitals are better than surgical outcomes at other hospitals in the United States.

"Both the U.S. News and World Report and HealthGrades quality rating systems are frequently used for hospital marketing. Our study shows that current hospital ratings systems are no better in judging the quality of hospitals than are procedural volumes," according to Nicholas Osborne, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

"These quality ratings are marketed as a tool to help consumers choose the best hospitals. However, the best hospitals are hard to define," Dr. Osborne said. "Procedural volume may represent a good proxy for hospital quality for some high-risk procedures, but continued research is necessary to develop better measures of surgical quality for the public. One promising approach is the American College of Surgeon's National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP), a quality initiative aimed at measuring and improving surgical outcomes. ACS NSQIP uses clinical data from patien
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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