I read this in a recent article in USA Today:
Until today, hospital death rates were closely guarded secrets, discussed in board rooms but beyond the reach of patients whose lives are on the line. That changed this morning when USA TODAY posted on its website the government's best estimates of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia death rates for every U.S. hospital for two years.
Now anyone with access to a computer can directly compare a local hospital with the one across town to see how it stacks up against the biggest medical institutions nationwide.
Death rates from heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia are widely viewed as yardsticks of a hospital's overall performance.
"We're in an era of change at last," says Donald Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a non-profit in Cambridge, Mass., that works with hospitals to improve care and eliminate errors.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to know that if I start experiencing chest pains that radiate up and down my arm, sweat, and general feelings of impending doom. I can stop, sit down in front of a computer, and figure out which hospital more people are flocking to, to die from these symptoms.
And if for some reason my cold has gotten so bad that I can barely lift my head up off the pillow and therefore I may be forced to let someone drive me to the nearest hospital because I am feeling just that lousy. I do find comfort in the fact that before my ride gets there I can prop myself up in bed, (if I can find the strength) boot up the old laptop, and learn where I can go to be put out of my misery fastest!
Thanks USA Today. I for one was curious which hospitals were getting the job done! And which ones where just there for the good food and friendly service!
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