Denver, Colorado — Click here to see how your local hospital ranks. 
HealthGrades, the nation’s most trusted source for researching doctors and hospitals, today released its 2011 Healthcare Consumerism and Hospital Quality in America report, an analysis of patient outcomes at nearly 5,000 American hospitals. HealthGrades' report also features an analysis of patient use of the internet for researching physician and hospital quality. Consumers can find local quality ratings on HealthGrades.com/MyCity.
“Patients are increasingly demanding objective clinical quality measures on which to base their healthcare decisions,” said Kerry Hicks, HealthGrades chief executive officer. “HealthGrades is proud to be a leader in making quality performance information not only transparent to the public, but readily accessible and actionable. HealthGrades continues to innovate with the goal of empowering patients to create their best possible healthcare experience.”
The 2011 Healthcare Consumerism and Hospital Quality in America report found that serious gaps in quality among U.S. hospitals persist: At 5-star rated hospitals patients had a 73% lower risk of dying when compared with patients at 1-star rated hospitals. If all hospitals performed at the level of 5-star rated hospitals over the three years studied, 240,040 Medicare lives could potentially have been saved, according to the report.
The report analyzed objective mortality and complication rates across 27 different medical procedures and diagnoses, at all of the nation’s 5,000 nonfederal hospitals using 40 million hospitalization records obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Data was analyzed over a three year period from 2008 through 2010. The report also analyzed web use by patients from Jan. 2011 through July 2011, and ranked the cities with the heaviest search volumes per capita on HealthGrades.com.
According to the Pew Internet Project, increasingly patients are moving from searching disease and treatment-specific information to using the internet to find quality information on doctors and hospitals, 47% and 38% respectively in 2010, up from 21% in 2003. More than 10 million people each month research physician and hospital quality on HealthGrades.com.
Who are these “empowered” patients? According to HealthGrades report issued today, these patients are typically between the ages of 25 and 54, 93% have health insurance, 63% are female, and 50% have household incomes greater than $75,000. Additionally, 80% are “very or somewhat” concerned about the quality of hospital care in their community, and nearly 94% said they would go out of their way to seek care at a more highly rated hospital.
Tina Domney, a patient in Elmira, New York came to HealthGrades when she needed clarification on the next step in her care.
“My specialist referred me to another doctor with a specialty that I didn't understand, and without the contact information,” Domney said. “Health Grades gave me everything I needed quickly and on a site that was clear and easy to navigate. The site also provided contact, education, [hospital] affiliations, and other information that was very useful. I could even compare doctors side by side. This was the easiest and most helpful site I have found in a long time.”
For George Cabrera, a resident of Miami, Florida, visiting HealthGrades is about having a say in his healthcare experience: “I love HealthGrades because it makes it so much easier to find and rate so much of our health care today. Having a voice, and using it fairly, is a unique opportunity. I browse HealthGrades often. It’s a treasure trove of information.”
HealthGrades quality ratings released today, are available to consumers at HealthGrades.com/MyCity.
Key report findings include:
• Patients have, on average, a 73% lower risk of death at a 5-star hospital compared to a 1-star hospital, and a 63% lower chance of experiencing a complication.
• If all Medicare patients from 2008 through 2010 had been treated at 5-star hospitals 240,040 lives could potentially have been saved.
• The Top Cities for Patient Web Use include (in rank order): Washington D.C., New York, Kansas City, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Gainesville, Dallas, Atlanta and Baltimore.
HealthGrades Hospital Ratings
As part of this study, HealthGrades rates each of the nation’s 5,000 nonfederal hospitals in 27 procedures and diagnoses, allowing individuals to compare their local hospitals online at HealthGrades.com/MyCity. HealthGrades hospital ratings are independently created; no hospital can opt-in or opt-out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated. Mortality and complication rates are risk adjusted, which takes into account differing levels of severity of patient illness at different hospitals and allows for hospitals to be compared on equal footing.
HealthGrades is America's most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality outcomes. HealthGrades online properties are the nation's leading destination for physician search and empower more than 170 million consumers annually to make informed healthcare decisions.