Our latest hospital safety ratings were recently published in the May issue of Consumer Reports. Once again we found substantial differences in the performance of more than 2500 hospitals across the country. I am sure every hospital would say safety is a top priority. But a much smaller portion is actually performing to that goal.
Since the first publication of our safety score in 2012, we have made multiple upgrades and improvements to our approach. All of our hospital infection data, for example, now comes from the National Healthcare Safety Network database maintained by the CDC and distributed by CMS. We are able to include data for three types of hospital-acquired infections-central line infections, surgical site infections and bladder catheter infections. We have also added performance data for medical and surgical mortality in hospitals. Medical mortality focuses on death from three conditions -- heart attack, pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Surgical mortality focuses on those patients having inpatient surgery who have a major complication (like a clot to the lung, or kidney failure) and die.
These changes are a good example of the "journey" that good comparisons require. In any scientific undertaking, the best efforts constantly look for the best data. And any effort involving consumers needs to be constantly asking them for feedback about what information will be most helpful in making decisions. Safety information is our highest priority, and we hope to constantly improve the information we have.
Here are additional links to more of our ratings:
Survive your hospital stay
Hospital Ratings Page
John Santa, M.D
Director, Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center
Reaching Out to Employers
Among our most promising partners are Human Resource executives who care about
helping their employees make smart healthcare decisions.
That's why Tara Montgomery, Senior Director of Health Impact, addressed 250 HR
managers and executives at the annual Health & Benefits Leadership Conference in March.
Her message: With all the changes in the healthcare landscape, it's more important now
than ever to provide the tools and information that will help employees become effective health consumers.
Our partner network helps us reach more than 100 million consumers each year with free,
objective, accessible resources. She urged HR executives to join that network, and to
consider adding ratings from the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center to their decision
An easy place to start: The employer toolkit for Choosing Wisely materials.
Choosing Wisely Canada Launches
Two years after the launch of the groundbreaking Choosing Wisely campaign, its
influence has formally gone international.
The Canadian Medical Association and nine of the country's physician specialty
societies have launched Choosing Wisely Canada, with the unveiling of those societies'
own lists of five tests, treatments or procedures for which there is strong evidence of
overuse, waste, or even possible harm to patients.
As with the US-based campaign, the goal is to begin conversations between patients
and physicians. Plain-language versions of some items on the lists are available for
patient use; we developed them along with the Canadian specialty societies. More
Canadian specialty societies are expected to add lists to the campaign later this
For more information and resources, visit the website.
Two new partners have joined our Health Impact campaigns
Greater Detroit Area Health Council
GDAHC is the premier healthcare coalition that develops and evaluates innovative solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Southeast Michigan through multi-sector collaboration. As a healthcare leader that is recognized nationally and regionally, GDAHC
represents everyone who gets care, gives care and pays for care.
VNA Community Healthcare
VNA Community Healthcare is a non-profit, community based home healthcare agency
based in Guilford and Hamden Connecticut. Beyond nursing; physical, occupational and
speech therapies; mental health; and maternal child health, it offers free or low cost wellness,
health and family caregiver support programs.
Best Buy Drugs Update
New analysis of three Alzheimer's drugs
Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a terrible thief. Over time
it robs people of their ability to remember, learn, and reason, cutting them off from friends
and family and eventually even their own sense of self. The companies that sell Alzheimer's
drugs peddle hope to people looking for a way to ease the pain and frustration. But a hard
look through the research paints a far more disappointing picture. Read more here.
To clearly spell out the risks and benefits of these medications, Best Buy Drugs
commissioned Informulary, a company founded by Steven Woloshin M.D., professor of
medicine at the Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at the Geisel School of Medicine
at Dartmouth and another Dartmouth professor, Lisa Schwartz, M.D., to review the evidence
for three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat mild-to-moderate
Alzheimer's. Their analysis is summarized in Drug Facts Boxes, which are similar to the
Nutrition Facts found on packaged foods.
on drugs used to treat Alzheimer's.
Support Our Work
Consumer Education and Outreach
As you know, Consumer Reports is the only major independent consumer organization
working for transparency in medical costs, effectiveness, and safety. And because we're
free of any commercial influence, we always call it like we see it - never pulling any punches.
Last year, our work on health care helped consumers identify and choose high-quality,
appropriate, cost-effective preventative care, screening/testing, medicines, treatments,
addressing medical costs, effectiveness, and safety. But there is much more work to
be done and we can't do it without your help.
Knowing that you're a fan of Consumer Reports Health, we'd like to invite you to make
a charitable contribution. Your contribution will help us remain a leading voice in championing consumers' access to sustainable, safe, high-quality, and affordable health care and physical, mental, and community well being. We hope you'll find it's a cause worthy of your support.
Please consider a contribution to Consumer Reports' health-care initiative.
you have questions.
In the News
Recent Coverage of Our Work
Washington Post as 7 steps to keeping your bones strong and healthy as you grow older.
Consumer Reports: Top-selling prescription drug overused, KEPRTV.com
Putting the cap on medication costs, TimesUnion.com
The Choosing Wisely grantee, Texas Medical Association, was in the Star-Telegram
newspaper (Dallas-Fort Worth area) on March 31st with an excellent article about
Choosing Wisely called Wasteful Medical Tests and Interventions that May Surprise You.
HealthInsight Utah, another Choosing Wisely grantee, held a town hall on March 27
with a big media splash. Some highlights include an Op-Ed in Dessert News called
"Is More Always Better? Not in Health Care" and an article in the Salt Lake Tribune
called "Utahns Warned: Unneeded Medical Tests Do More Harm than Good."
One of our consumer partners, AARP, published a fantastic cover story on Choosing Wisely
in their March bulletin. It's called "Doctors Say: Skip These Tests."
Maine Public Broadcasting Network aired a great segment on Choosing Wisely,
aimed at increasing awareness, showcasing a patient's voice, and highlighting the
great work that Choosing Wisely grantee Maine Quality Counts is doing.