The New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., the nation's largest public health system, plans to begin publicly releasing data today on infection and death rates at its 11 hospitals, in response to widespread concern about deadly, preventable and costly hospital-acquired conditions and pressure to crack open the shrouded culture of many hospitals.
The city's move, driven by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to make public health a centerpiece of his administration and by the hospital corp.'s recent focus on improving patient safety, is a bold step in an industry that has long resisted transparency, experts said.
In posting the safety and performance information on the hospital corp.'s Web site, the public hospitals, which treat 1.3 million patients a year, are far ahead of the industry, healthcare experts and consumer advocates said.
"It does focus on the underbelly of healthcare," Alan Aviles, president of the Health and Hospitals Corp., said in an interview. "But if you want to make improvements, you have to acknowledge the underbelly."
The Web site allows the public to see the overall death rate, the rate of deaths after heart attacks, preventable bloodstream infections and pneumonia cases, among other measures, at the 11 hospitals.
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