HealthGrades study of hospital quality finds 70 percent lower death rate at top rated hospitals

HealthGrades' annual study found that although overall mortality rates declined since the previous year, large gaps persist between the "best" and the "worst" hospitals across all procedures and diagnoses studied and that variation is consistent across national, state and regional levels. In addition, the study found there is a relationship between volume and quality of care as measured by risk-adjusted mortality for several procedures: coronary bypass surgery, coronary interventional procedures, and resection/replacement abdominal aorta.

According the the 11th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, if all hospitals performed at the level of a 5-star rated hospital across the 17 procedures and diagnoses studied, 237,420 Medicare lives could have potentially been saved from 2005 to 2007, and best-performing hospitals, defined as hospitals among the top 15 percent for risk-adjusted mortality overall, were clustered in different regions of the country.

(SOURCE: HCPro Quality Improvement Monitor, www.hcpro.com, October 17, 2008; HealthGrades, www.healthgrades.com, accessed October 17, 2008)