ANCHOR LEAD: HOSPITALS ARE REPORTING SAFETY DATA, BUT CONSUMERS SHOULD STILL BE WARY, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Let’s say you’re about to have elective surgery, and you look at the numbers. Hospital A reports that they deliver needed antibiotics on time 90% of the time and have low operative mortality, while hospital B says they only deliver antibiotics on time 60% of the time. Choosing hospital A seems obvious, right? Not necessarily, says Peter Pronovost, a patient safety expert at Johns Hopkins.
PRONOVOST: There’s wide variation in the quality of care provided by hospitals in this country, and as a result there’s a demand for patients to know the quality of care that they’re going to be provided when they go to seek it. Many hospitals have begun to publish their quality reports, and that’s all for the good. The concerning thing is that in many ways it’s like the wild West, we haven’t what they reported, so hospitals in some cases are using these as marketing tools rather than as tools to inform the public. :30
Pronovost is calling for hospital accrediting agencies to impose standard reporting tools. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.