Healthgrades published its ratings of hospitals across the country, and also launched its Risk IQ Tool to help consumers assess their personal risk to six common surgical procedures.
It turns out, though, that selecting the right hospital and the right doctor is no easy task. It varies from region to region – even from city to city. And it depends what type of care or procedure you need. Some hospitals and physicians are better at some procedures than others.
In other words: patient beware.
Denver, Colo.-based Healthgrades bills itself as the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. It calls its Risk IQ Tool the first to help patients assess their personal risk as it relates to six common surgical procedures and also to help patients find the right hospital and physician for the procedure.
The Healthgrades report also takes into account patients' risk for complications and mortality with common surgeries along with relative driving distance to hospitals in general, and to hospitals shown to have the best outcomes in a particular surgery or procedure.
"The report shows that consumers need to educate themselves before any surgery and get the facts on their personal risk in order to improve the likelihood of a positive outcome," Healthgrades Chief Strategy Officer Evan Marks said in a statement.
Making that happen, however, is complicated.
The Healthgrades analysis found clinical and quality outcomes in hospitals vary drastically across the country. Its Report to the Nation evaluated the performance of nearly 4,500 short-term acute care hospitals nationwide, assessing hospital performance relative to each of 32 common conditions and procedures, as well as an evaluation of comparative outcomes in appendectomy and bariatric surgery using all-payer data provided by 18 states.
The results showed wide gaps in outcomes: Healthgrades found patients treated from 2013-2015 at hospitals receiving a five-star rating have, on average, a 71 percent lower risk of dying and a 65 percent lower risk of experiencing one or more complications during a hospital stay than if they were treated at a hospital receiving a one-star rating in that procedure or condition.
From 2013-2015, if all hospitals as a group performed similarly to hospitals receiving five-stars as a group, on average 223,412 lives could potentially have been saved and 162,215 complications could potentially have been avoided.
Patients have varying relative risk for complications and mortality with common surgeries. Patients having surgery in hospitals rated five-stars will have a lower risk of experiencing a complication or dying than if they were treated in a hospital rated as one-star in six common surgical procedures.
Patients having knee replacement in hospitals rated 5-stars have a 67 percent lower risk of experiencing a complication, or dying than if they were treated in hospitals rated 1-star. For hip replacement it was a 73 percent lower risk; pacemaker procedures, a 57 percent lower risk; CABG – Coronary artery bypass grafting – an 86 percent lower risk; hysterectomy, a 60 percent lower risk; and bariatric surgery, a 72 percent lower risk.
Healthgrades also took into account the patients relative driving distance to hospitals in general, and to hospitals demonstrating superior outcomes in a surgery or procedure and concluded outcomes can be dramatically different from city to city.
Based solely on clinical quality outcomes, Healthgrades 50 best hospitals for 2016 are in in the top 1 percent of hospitals in the nation for providing overall clinical excellence across a broad spectrum of conditions and procedures consistently for at least six consecutive years.
Here is the breakdown by U.S. State.
Mayo Clinic, Phoenix
Cedars Sinai Medical Center, West Hollywood
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Newport Beach
Huntington, Memorial Hospital, Pasadena
John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek
Mills Peninsula Medical Center, including Mills Health Center, Burlingame
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills
Scripps Green Hospital, La Jolla
Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Roseville
Centura Health – Penrose Saint Francis Health Services, Colorado Springs
St. Francis Medical Center, Colorado Springs
North Colorado Medical Center. Greely
Delray Medical Center, Delray Beach
Munroe Regional Medical Center, Ocala
Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainsville
Piedmont Fayette Hospital, Fayetteville
Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center, Oak Lawn
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove
Alexian Brothers Medical Center Elk Grove Village
Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana
Palos Community Hospital, Palos Heights
Presence Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago
St. Alexius Medical Center, Hoffman Estates
Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, including Indiana University Health, University Hospital, Indianapolis
Mercy Medical Center – Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids
Saint Luke's Hospital, Cedar Rapids
The University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City
Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, including Oschner Health Center – Elmwood in New Orleans and Oschner Medical Center – West Bank Campus, Terrytown
Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore
Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore
Medstar Harbor Hospital, Baltimore
Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass.
Beaumont Health System, Beaumont-Troy Campus, Troy
Holland Hospital, Holland
Providence-Providence Park Hospital, Southfield Campus, Southfield
Spectrum Health Medical Center – Butterworth Hospital, including Spectrum Health – Blodgett Hospital, Grand Rapids, Mich.
North Memorial Medical Center, Robbinsdale
Regions Hospital, St. Paul, Minn.
Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, N.J.
New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York
New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, New York
New York Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, New York
Mission Health, Asheville
Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster
Lehigh Valley Hospital Allentown
AnMed Health – Anmed Health Medical Center, Anderson
Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas
Augusta Health, Fisherville
Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, Mechanicsville
Aurora Saint Lukes Medical Center, Milwaukee, including Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Milwaukee and Saint Lukes Medical Center, Cudahy
Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse
The following states had no hospital either in the top 100 (representing 2 percent of hospitals or in the top 50 (representing 1 percent of hospitals): Alabama Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
This article first appeared in Healthcare IT News.