Monday, April 22, 2013

Consumer Reports' 2013 Hospital Safety Ratings Show Significant Room for Improvement

Consumer Reports has released its hospital safety ratings for 2013, and while the publication has nearly doubled the number of hospitals rated, many hospitals received low scores for their performance on readmissions, complications, communication, overuse of CT scans, and infections.

These measures are among the issues studied by INQRI-funded research teams investigating the role of nurses in improving the quality of patient care. Several of these studies have shown that nursing has a significant impact on reducing readmissions and infection rates, for instance.

The Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center scores hospitals on a 100-point scale. This year, the average score for the 2,031 hospitals included in the ratings was 49. Two-thirds of the 258 teaching hospitals in the U.S. received scores that were below that average.

Several hospitals have contested their low scores, pointing out that that data used for the scoring was more than two years old.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Hospital Compare site also provides hospital ratings. The Health Compare ratings are based on more current data but for an expanded list of measures, some of which are different. Those measures include: timely and effective care for several conditions; readmissions, complications and death; use of medical imaging; a survey of patients' hospital experiences; number of Medicare patients; and spending per Medicare patient.

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