Patterns of care vary widely among 23 top U.S. academic medical centers, according to a report (PDF) from the Dartmouth Atlas Project. The report's authors suggest that these variations may be something medical students want to consider when choosing an institution for residency training.
Noting that all the institutions studied are affiliated with medical schools and "should be exemplars of evidence-based medicine," the report highlighted significant variations in intensity of end-of-life care, surgical procedure rates, patient-reported experience, patient safety and quality of care.
"These findings challenge the assumption that clinical science alone drives medical practice at these prestigious institutions and thus raise a serious issue for academic medicine," said Dr. David Goodman (PDF), co-principal investigator for the Dartmouth Atlas Project, and director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, in a news release. "With such drastic variations from one institution to the next, they clearly cannot all be right. Academic medicine needs to address this gap in clinical science."