Shopping around for a heart bypass operation?
If you are, you might be wondering about such things as the hospital's bypass-surgery death rate, how long you'll be in the hospital and how much the surgery costs. Until recently, people routinely endured life-and-death procedures without getting the kind of answers they demand when buying a home or car.
That's beginning to change. Growing amounts of information on hospital performance are a mouse-click away, thanks to the Internet's limitless capacity and a bold consensus that transparency serves hospitals and consumers.
"We're in the middle of an amazing transformation," says Steve Corwin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
For those wondering what the future holds, it's worth visiting the Web site of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., part of a system that includes Dartmouth Medical School.
Click on the quality reports tab at the top of the virtual file drawer and look up coronary artery bypass graft surgery. You'll learn that the hospital's death rate is 2.3%, a shade below the national average of 2.5%. The length of stay is 7.2 days, one-tenth of a day longer than the national average, and the charges will total about $75,000, roughly $49,000 for the hospital and $26,000 for doctors.
How much will you pay out of pocket? Click on the calculator to find out.
"Fundamentally, we believe we're in a partnership with patients," says Melanie Mastanduno, the hospital's director of quality measurement. "Only if they have information can they make good decisions about their healthcare."
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