Hospitals That Ace Quality Measures Have Lower Mortality

Hospital Quality Alliance measures associated with patient outcome

MONDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitals scoring highest on publicly reported performance measures for myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia have lower mortality rates compared to low-scoring hospitals, according to a report published in the July/August issue of Health Affairs.

Ashish K. Jha, M.D., and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston analyzed 2004-2005 Hospital Quality Alliance data from 3,720 hospitals in regards to acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and pneumonia treatment. The scores were compared to outcomes of Medicare patients diagnosed with one of the three conditions.

Hospitals scoring in the top quartile based on adherence to 10 performance indicators -- such as giving a myocardial infarction patient aspirin on arrival and a beta-blocker on discharge -- had lower mortality rates compared to hospitals scoring in the bottom quartile. Top-scoring hospitals lowered mortality rates of myocardial infarction patients by 1 percent, heart failure patients by 0.4 percent and pneumonia patients by 0.8 percent, compared to the poorest performers.

If all hospitals raised their performance scores to the highest level, the authors estimate 2,200 lives would be saved annually.

"The motivation for hospitals to improve their quality performance depends on the face validity of the indicators and the evidence that better performance on them is associated with better outcomes for patients," the authors write.

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