KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Emphasis On Quality Reduces Deaths In Hospitals, Report Finds

A new report finds that a focus on quality reduces the number of deaths in U.S. hospitals, specifically saving 47,000 lives a year and preventing 92,000 complications.

Reuters reports: "The analysis from Thomson Reuters looked at 252 U.S. health systems and found the best-performing 20 percent had 25 percent fewer deaths, 19 percent fewer complications, and 13 percent fewer patient mishaps than the 20 percent worst performers, even though their patients were sicker. The study, released in Modern Healthcare, shows that higher-quality healthcare is possible if hospital systems make it their primary focus, instead of profits, for example, said Jean Chenoweth, Thomson Reuters senior vice president for performance improvement, who led the research. The analysis can also inform healthcare reform efforts -- the signature policy of U.S. President Barack Obama and the focus of considerable negotiations in Congress, Chenoweth said."

Reuters notes: "Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters News, also rated the hospital systems across the United States and released a top 100 list as part of its report. It did not look at whether raising quality lowered costs, although many experts say lowering patient complications can save billions. ... Chenoweth's team used data on 12 million Medicare patients using five measures: mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average length of stay, and whether hospitals followed standards of care published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services" (Fox, 8/10).

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