You’d think that any state that boasts a city like Boston that has as many teaching hospitals and world-class hospitals as Boston would be one of the best cities to get ill in and partake of that excellent medical care.
Well, you’d be wrong.
According to a report the Globe reported on yesterday, the overall death rate for the state’s hospitals was 7 percent higher than the national average.
Ouch. That hurts!
What hurts even more is the lack of transparency of the information that would allow consumers and e-patients to make an informed decision about which hospital to visit in Massachusetts to avoid an untimely death. The report did not identify hospitals by name.
So we don’t know whether you should avoid Mass. General and go to Beth-Israel instead. Or avoid Tufts and go to Brigham and Womens instead. Why should you care? Because:
The analysis by a prominent Cambridge research organization also found wide variation in death rates among Massachusetts hospitals, with patients about half as likely to die at some hospitals than at others.
Wow, I mean, that’s a huge discrepancy. I’d really like to know what hospital I could be twice as likely to die at than another, but the report, the Institute, and the paper aren’t telling me. Nobody is. Well, hospital report cards might tell me, but it’s odd that a report of this nature isn’t providing the singular piece of information ordinary people would like to know. I wonder why?
The institute collects data about patient care from Medicare and hospitals, and uses demographic and health characteristics to adjust the data to allow comparisons among hospitals. It provides the data to hospitals it works with on quality-improvement projects.
Ahhh, that’s why. For hospitals’ eyes only.
Too bad for us.