Patients who go to hospitals ranking higher on specific quality measures have a lower chance of dying than patients treated at lower-ranked hospitals, US research suggests.
The study by Boston's Harvard medical school appears to back the use of performance indicators.
The researchers looked at performance scores from 3,720 hospitals in 2004-2005. For each hospital, a score was calculated for how it performed treating patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (CHF) and pneumonia.
Examples of performance indicators included whether hospitals gave aspirin and beta-blockers at arrival and discharge for AMI and, for pneumonia, how quickly antibiotics were administered.
The authors calculated that 2,200 potential deaths could have been avoided if the hospitals in the bottom quartile had the same mortality rates as those in the highest quartile.
Health Affairs (2007) 26: 4