Reducing adverse events in scheduled surgery
On July 31, we released ratings of 2,463 hospitals for common scheduled surgeries in Consumer Reports magazine and at ConsumerReports.org.
We worked with a well-established data partner, MPA, a company with decades of experience in analysis and research of large health databases. The Ratings are based on an analysis of Medicare billing data. The data has undergone extensive "scrubbing," risk adjustment, and other adjustments to improve its accuracy. The data focuses on death and prolonged length of stay for each hospital.
While factors other than complications can contribute to extended hospital stays, research has shown that hospital-acquired complications correlate with death and length of stay. There is more direct data in medical records or special reports but this kind of information is not usually made public. We include an overall Rating for a hospital and Ratings for five very common surgeries including hip replacement, knee replacement, angioplasty, carotid artery surgery (the major vessel to your brain in your neck) and back surgery.
Some well-known hospitals do not do well. Overall, teaching hospitals for example do no better than other hospitals. There are some notable performers who do not do well--Massachusetts General in Boston, Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, and Washington DC where 4 of the 5 hospitals with sufficient data are poor performers (including George Washington University) and the fifth is average.
There are lots of good performers--including three New York City hospitals--NYU Langone, Mt Sinai and NY Presbyterian. Some western states like Washington, Minnesota and Wisconsin have several good performers and only a few poor performers. On the other hand Alabama, Mississippi and Puerto Rico have no good performers and many poor performers.
We acknowledge that analyzing billing data has limitations but feel we and MPA have taken many steps to focus the analysis in credible ways. We assert that it is time for consumers to have access to data like this and if hospitals have better data they should release it to the public. There is very good evidence that there are several interventions which can improve surgical adverse events.
As part of our process we have had several experts in the field review the methodology, interviewed proponents and opponents and included comments from each in the article (including representatives from low-performing hospitals), provided the methodology to hospitals six days before the release and conducted an audio presentation explaining the methodology.
You can read the full story and see the Ratings online now.
John Santa, M.D
Director, Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center
Our redesigned website
It's a good problem to have: So many new resources and so many new visitors,
that your website design can't cope.
That's why we've re-launched ConsumerHealthChoices.org--to help everyone
quickly find the information they're after.
The new design sorts the site into three clear paths. One is for our campaign
partners and others with questions about our several campaigns. The second
is for health professionals who are looking for consumer health education materials
to distribute. The third is for consumers and patients, who typically arrive at the
site with particular questions and concerns in mind. The navigation and highlights
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Underlying all three paths is a powerful new catalog. It features expanded
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If you haven't visited in a while, take a look!
Our Notes from the April Patient Empowerment Expo
In mid-April, The American College of Physicians and Consumer Reports
co-sponsored Your Health: Fact Not Fiction. A Patient Empowerment Expo
in San Francisco. The 3-hour conference was free and open to the public,
and focused on empowering consumers to take control of their healthcare
by learning how to talk to their doctors and knowing what questions to ask.
The presentations with doctors included such topics as the best and worst
screening tests, which medical tests are needed and which are not, and how
to live a healthy life. It was a pleasure to get together with more than 300
who listened to terrific advice from Dr. John Whyte of the Discovery Channel,
Dr. Daisy Smith and Dr. Doug Paauw, and had the opportunity to ask and have
answered many of their own questions. As a thank you to those consumers who
registered and attended this empowering event, we pulled together the key
points from all of the presentations and created a handy summary as a reminder
of the great advice that was shared at the expo. You can view that by clicking here.
We hope you will take a look, find it useful, and share it with others.
Choosing Wisely Outreach Efforts
Consumer Reports continues to collaborate with 21 Choosing Wisely grantees--state
medical societies, specialty societies and regional health collaboratives, all of which
received a grant from the ABIM Foundation with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation--to educate consumers about overly used and prescribed medical tests and procedures. In just the past three months, grantees have achieved many accomplishments, including creating an app (American Society of Echocardiography), hosting a consumer
focused webinar (Maine Quality Counts), receiving an award for "excellence in patient and physician outreach" (Washington State Medical Association), and publishing a front page
article in Tennessee Medicine (Tennessee Medical Association).
To support the grantees, Consumer Reports continues to create brochures on overly
used and prescribed medical tests and procedures. In the past three months alone,
we've published 17 more, with topics ranging from Lyme Disease Testing to Medical
Tests before Eye Surgery to Alzheimer 's disease Testing.
We've also produced three new videos, and in response to grantees requesting posters
to hang in clinics and hospitals and share with employer groups, we updated our poster
called "5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor before You Get Any Test, Treatment, or Procedure"
and its corresponding wallet card.
Support Our Work
Consumer Education and Outreach
Since 2012 Consumer Reports has invested in the development and distribution
of FREE educational materials to support the Choosing WiselyŽ campaign. Through
our efforts, we've built a network of partners to communicate with consumers about
appropriate use of medical tests, treatments and procedures and educate them on
the need for better communication with their doctors. In less than a year, we collaborated
with more than nine medical specialty societies to publish dozens of consumer pamphlets
and videos, in English and Spanish to spread the message. These communication activities
had the potential to reach tens of millions of consumers.
In February 2013, the number of medical specialty societies taking part in the
Choosing Wisely campaign expanded from nine to over 25. Now, Consumer Reports
is seeking help to sustain, improve and grow our communications efforts through at
least March 2015 and introduce new and more innovative approaches to our existing
consumer communications efforts.
Consumer Reports is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization. We do not accept
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