Tuesday AM August 4th, 2009

More than 3,400 hospitals are rated for subscribers of consumerreportshealth.org, showing substantial differences in quality of care.ξ The online ratings are based on patient surveys collected by the federal government's Hospital Consumer Assessments of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey.ξ Dr. John Santa says most hospitals received the worst ratings for communication about new medications and in discharge planning.ξ

"Almost all American hospitals are struggling with discharge planning, and that's certainly the case in Houston.ξ Thirty-six of the 52 hospitals earned our, earned the lowest score possible for discharge planning.ξ So, 44 of the 52 Houston hospitals earned the lowest score for communciation about new medicine."

Findings are available in a user-friendly interface with Consumer Report's ξfamiliar ratings.

"The Web is perfect for this.ξ If you look at the scores for communciation for your hospitals and they're not at the top, when you go in there, you better be assertive in terms of making sure that they communicate well with you.ξ If you're in Houston, you're going to need to be assertive about getting ready for discharge, because it doesn't appear that Houston hospitals have figured that out.ξ This data can be helpful to consumers."ξ

Consumers seem more satisfied in hospitals providing more conservative care.ξ Dr. Santa says aggressive hospitals utilizing frequent diagnostic tests, more reliance on specialists, prolonged stays and higher out-of-pocket expenses do not necessarily improve outcomes.ξ Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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