Sobering news about patient safety. Quote:
The fact is, most of us will never need a heart-lung transplant or a “pancreaticoduodenectomy” — and getting your care based on a list of hospitals that do such procedures actually puts you at risk. Besides offering a different view of quality, the Consumer Reports ratings represent a long-awaited effort to get people to make better choices about where and what medical care they get. There’s a widespread belief, particularly among conservatives, that patients would choose better (and possibly cheaper) care if only they had access to more and better information about the care they’re purchasing. Conservatives would like to go a step further and give patients more of the financial burden of their medical treatment once better information becomes available.
But most patients don’t just choose a hospital from a vacuum, or based on a ranking in a newspaper — they go where their doctor recommends. As the US News rankings indicate, many doctors are just as confused about which hospitals provide the best care as we patients are. But with better information from Consumer Reports and on websites like the Dartmouth Atlas, which is a trove of Medicare data on the effectiveness of the health care system, patients and their doctors can make sure they go to hospitals that provide better — not just more prestigious — care.