In its upcoming May 2013 issue, Consumer Reports is releasing their updated hospital safety ratings, and the grades show that hospitals are still a dangerous place to be. It is estimated that medical mistakes, hospital contracted infections, and other substandard care contribute to the death of 180,000 hospital patients each year. Deaths that could potentially be avoided if stronger patient safety measures were in place.
The report rated hospitals on their patient safety performance across the five key measures of readmissions, complications, communication, overuse of CT scans, and infections. The hospitals were then graded on a 100-point scale, and even their top performers only received ratings in the mid-seventies, which as most students know would land you a “C” on lenient grading scales. The average score for all hospitals was a 49. John Santa, M.D., head of the Consumer Reports Health Rating Center made the following comment in regard to the findings “When it comes to health care, average should never be good enough, and this average is clearly not even close.”
Another disappointing trend of the findings was in the data collected in regard to teaching hospitals. Instead of leading the top performers, it was found that nearly two-thirds had scores below average. These are places that should be preparing future doctors to learn the best possible methods and practices, yet they are lagging in this regard.
Dr. Santa appeared on the CBS show This Morning where he emphasized that to improve the patient safety issue at hospitals will take a culture shift in hospital leadership. He noted that the Mayo Clinic hospitals have this culture, that “their priorities are set”.