Where's the best hospital to have surgery? Maybe not where you think.
A new study by Consumer Reports ("Safer-Surgery Survival Guide," July 2013) shows that some of the best known hospitals may not be your best bet for surgery.
“Consumers have very little to go on when trying to select a hospital for surgery, not knowing which ones do a good job at keeping surgery patients safe and which ones don’t,” says Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project. “They might as well just throw a scalpel at a dartboard.”
Our new Surgery Ratings are part of an ongoing effort to shed light on hospital quality and to push the health care industry toward more transparency. “Because patients and their families shouldn’t have to make such important decisions with so little information,” McGiffert says.
The CR study looks at the percentage of Medicare patients who underwent surgery and either died in hospital or had to stay longer than expected. The rankings look at 27 different surgical procedures.
Rankings are important — and many hospitals are tops in something — but rankings are not the only source you should be seeking when deciding where to have your operation. Rankings and quality report cards should be carefully weighed with other important criteria, including convenience, access and the skill, experience and bedside manner of the surgeon (or maybe a medical student in a teaching hospital) who is wielding that scalpel.
You need to be as close as possible to 100 percent comfortable with your decision before committing.