The disparity in hospital quality has widened even as overall hospital mortality has declined, so much so that a patient now stands a 65% better chance of surviving at one of the highest-quality hospitals than at one of the lowest-rated hospitals, according to a new study by HealthGrades, Golden, Colo. In its eighth annual report on hospital quality, HealthGrades found average mortality at U.S. hospitals improved 12% between 2002 and 2004. But the highest-rated hospitals improved their overall mortality rate 21% more than the U.S. hospital average and 45% more than the lowest-rated hospitals. Hospitals with the highest ratings typically performed a higher volume of procedures and had higher numbers of intensivists staffing their intensive-care units. If all hospitals performed as well as their highest-rated counterparts, more than 273,000 lives potentially could have been saved over the past three years, HealthGrades said. Read the article in this week's Modern Healthcare. -- by Laura B. Benko
Hospital quality gap widens as mortality improves: study
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