For the first time, the consumer-ratings magazine and website Consumer Reports has ranked hospitals for safety. The report, which is part of the August issue and is available online, covers issues such as infection control, surgical mistakes, readmissions, and unclear instructions.
Consumer Reports offered the following summary:
• Bad things happen in all hospitals, but they happen a lot in some. The lowest-scoring hospital, Sacred Heart Hospital, in Chicago, earned just a 16 on the 100-point safety scale and reported a rate of bloodstream infections that was more than twice the national benchmark. The hospital declined to comment.
• Even high-scoring hospitals can do better. Billings Clinic in Montana was at the top of the list, but it got a safety score of just 72. “The work is hard," said Mark Rumans, MD, the hospital’s physician-in-chief. “We are far from perfect."
• Some well-known hospitals have less-than-outstanding safety scores. That includes Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, with a safety score of 45; Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, 43; Cleveland Clinic, 39; New York-Presbyterian, New York, 32; and Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, 30.
• The ratings are an important measure, but they’re not the only source patients should consult. They don’t, for example, assess how successful hospitals are at treating medical conditions. So before a planned hospital stay, patients should consult multiple sources, such as Hospital Compare, run by the federal government, and the Leapfrog Group, an independent organization that tracks hospital safety and quality.
A majority of the report covers infection control. The report offers readers questions they can ask and advice they can follow to ensure better outcomes, and lists the highest-ranking and lowest-ranking hospitals.
To read the report, click here.