Patient perceptions are often incorrect

Medicare data show gap in hospital performance,
perception
By Steve Sternberg and Christopher Schnaars
USA TODAY
08/05/2011

More than 120 hospitals given top marks by patients for providing excellent care also
have a darker distinction: high death rates for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia, a
USA TODAY analysis of new Medicare data has found.

Experts say the newspaper's analysis of data released today by Medicare offers a window
into the relationship between patients' perceptions of the the quality of their hospital care
and more objective measures, such as hospitals' death and readmission rates.

"This is a very important finding," says Donald Berwick, director of the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services, adding that though patient-survey data offer critical
insights into how it feels to be a patient at different hospitals, patients' perceptions don't
tell the whole story.

Over the past decade, rising costs and a flood of complex therapies have prompted
patients, employers, insurers and the federal government to demand public disclosure of
health care data. Armed with this evidence, Berwick says, doctors, insurers and patients
themselves can make better choices about where to obtain medical care.

STORY: Data can help patients fill perception gap
INTERACTIVE: Death, readmission rates for thousands of hospitals
MORE: See how hospitals rank according to patient surveys

The challenge is to measure hospitals accurately. Experts still debate what measures to
use, says John Wennberg, founding editor of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and
author of Tracking Medicine: A Researcher's Quest to Understand Health Care.

Medicare's analysis of more than 4,600 hospitals found that 323, or one of every 14, had
above-average death rates for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia. Two — Piedmont
Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C., and Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in
Macomb — had high death rates in all three categories. Thirteen had low death rates
across the board.

Veterans Administration hospitals performed well, according to data released for the first
time this year. Ten hospitals had lower death rates than average for heart failure; two
were lower for heart attacks; and five for pneumonia.

All VA hospitals were as good as or better than the national rate for heart attack and
heart failure.
Comparing different Kaiser Permanente locations
Kaiser Permanente
South Sacramento
Medical Center
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823-4671
(916) 688–2430


Urology Score Card

U.S. News Hospital Score         
24.6/100

Survival
As expected




Whether patients would recommend
the hospital to friends and family:
Definitely
68%
State Average
68%
National Average
69%
Probably or definitely not
6%

Success in keeping patients safe


Moderate
Patient volume


Medium
Nurse staffing


Highest
Nurse Magnet hospital

No
Advanced technologies


Low
Kaiser Permanente
Sacramento Medical
Center
2025 Morse Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95825-2115
(916) 973–5000



Urology Score Card
U.S. News Hospital Score         
15.6/100

Survival
Much worse than
expected



Whether patients would
recommend the hospital to friends
and family:
Definitely
71%
State Average
68%
National Average
69%
Probably or definitely not
5%


Success in keeping patients
safe


Limited
Patient volume


Highest
Nurse staffing


Highest
Nurse Magnet hospital

No
Advanced technologies


Low
Note two different Sacramento locations.   Also notice that patient recommendations are
unreliable.   Sacramento patients prefer the hospital with much worse survival rates!
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