Patients with heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia do better at high volume hospitals

Patients admitted to higher-volume hospitals for heart attacks, heart failure or pneumonia were more likely to live than patients seen at smaller facilities with less experience treating these conditions.

The New England Journal of Medicine  examined Medicare claim data from 2004 through 2006 for their study. 

Key Findings:

  • Pneumonia patients treated at larger-volume hospitals were 5 percent less likely to die in the first month than patients treated at hospitals that handled few cases.
  • The mortality rate for heart failure was 9 percent lower for busy hospitals.
  • The mortality rate for heart attack was 11 percent lower at busy hospitals.
  • Teaching hospitals generally needed fewer patients to attain a lower risk of death.

(Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, March 25, 2010; Reuters, http://reuters.com, March 24, 2010)