Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services released the results of a study that showed that one person in eight develops a “hospital acquired complication.” Here is the link to the study. Examples of hospital caused complications are things like adverse drug events, surgical infections, pressure ulcers, blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, surgical complications (such as an injured bowel during a hernia surgery), and pneumonia from a ventilator.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about one-half of these complications are entirely preventable. Many of these complications cause serious harm, including prolonged hospital stays, permanent injury, or even death.
Medicare provides statistics for comparing local hospitals on many of these complication rates. This link brings you to a page that provides comparisons for hospitals in the Tucson area. For example, St. Joseph Hospital's patients suffer death from pneumonia at a rate higher than the national average, but its infections caused by central lines are better than the national benchmark. Northwest Medical Center's patients suffer surgical site infections at a greater rate than the national benchmark. UMC has a statistically higher percentage of patients that require readmission after discharge.
The site also provides information on Emergency Department care. According to this data, area hospitals St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, and Northwest Medical Center took over 5 – 6 hours before admitting a patient into the hospital. The national average is less than 275 minutes. According to these statistics, St. Joseph's Hospital takes significantly longer than the national average in total time a patient is in the Emergency Department and the time before a patient was seen by a health care professional. As a consumer of health care, you can use this valuable tool to help you decide where you want to get your medical care.
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