The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Hospital Compare Web site added new information today that reports how frequently patients return to a hospital after being discharged, a possible indicator of how well the facility did the first time around. The site is www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.
Oregon Health & Science University was "no different from" other U.S. hospitals in 30-day readmissions for patients with a primary diagnosis of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. All hospitals are grouped into one of three categories: "better than," no different from," or "worse than" the U.S. national rate.
Research has shown that hospital readmissions are reducing the quality of health care while increasing hospital costs. Hospital Compare data show that for patients admitted to any hospital for heart attack treatment, 19.9 percent of them will return to the hospital within 30 days, 24.5 percent of patients admitted for heart failure will return to the hospital within 30 days, and 18.2 percent of patients admitted for pneumonia will return to the hospital within 30 days.
On average, 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries who are discharged from a hospital today will re-enter the hospital within a month. Reducing the rate of hospital readmissions to improve quality and achieve savings are key components of President Obama's health care reform agenda.
OHSU recently joined other academic medical centers participating in a a study to further analyze the factors that contribute to patients being readmitted to the hospital. The hope is that by looking at factors leading to readmission for patients with these three common conditions that opportunities for improvement across the system will be identified.
"Readmission rates can help us identify opportunities for improvement in our processes of care," said Christine Slusarenko, director, OHSU Quality Management. "This is ultimately good for all of our patients."
The Hospital Compare Web site also changed the way it calculates mortality data. Instead of using annual data, the site now uses three years' worth of data to compute risk-adjusted mortality rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. The current reported data covers July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2008. Although this means consumers cannot compare data from last year's rate with this year's rate, the expanded data set should provide a clearer picture of how well hospitals are performing. OHSU mortality rates are no different than the U.S. national rate for the three conditions tracked.
This information is shared with consumers and providers to improve the quality and transparency of care by giving the American public and health care professionals better access to important hospital data. The new readmissions measures complement the mortality measures and the clinical process and patient satisfaction measures already reported on Hospital Compare to promote increased scrutiny by hospitals of patient outcomes in the service of providing the right care for every patient, every time.
"We support this data being made available to the public," said Brett Sheppard, M.D., professor of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine and former chair of the OHSU professional board. "Quality outcomes information helps consumers make better informed health care choices, and helps health care providers continually improve the care they provide."
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.