‘Quality’ Is New Health Care Buzzword, But Does Tracking It Improve Outcomes?
Some new studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that tracking and comparing hospitals' surgical complications and deaths doesn't necessarily improve patient outcomes. Elsewhere, Medicare is approving fewer pricey drugs and procedures.
The Wall Street Journal:
Studies Find Tracking Surgical Complications Doesn’t Improve Outcomes
Amid growing interest in rewarding “quality” health care, two new studies found that tracking and comparing hospitals’ rates of surgical complications and deaths doesn’t necessarily improve outcomes. Hundreds of U.S. hospitals voluntarily report data on surgical complications, readmissions, length of stay and mortality to a registry run by the American College of Surgeons, one of the oldest and largest in the country. In return, they receive risk-adjusted data showing how they rank with other hospitals. The surgeons’ group says that each year a hospital participates in its National Surgical Quality Improvement Program “it has the opportunity to reduce the number of complications by 250 to 500 and save 12 to 36 lives.” (Beck, 2/3)
Show Them The Evidence: CMS OKs Coverage For Far Fewer Pricey New Treatments
Getting big-ticket medical devices, drugs and procedures covered by Medicare is getting harder, according to a new analysis of national coverage decisions between 1999 and 2012. The CMS was about 20 times more likely to say no in the more recent years. (Rice, 2/3)