Consumer Reports Releases 400 Hospital Rankings for Heart Surgery
By Adam Pick on November 19, 2014
Finding a great surgeon and experienced cardiac center is beyond critical for patients needing heart valve surgery. However, the process of acquiring trusted and reliable information about medical providers can sometimes be an uphill battle.
So… In case you missed the recent announcement, Consumer Reports just published their first-ever rankings for heart surgery programs in the United States. In total, over 400 hospitals are included in Consumer Reports’ list. To read the whole story, click here.
To establish the top rankings, Consumer Reports used two procedure types — surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) — in the analysis. According to the announcement, “The ratings are based on the gold standard in tracking hospital performance: data from patients’ medical records showing whether patients survived the procedure and how they fared on other important measures, including complications.”
The data came from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), which represents physicians who operate on the heart. More than 1,000 U.S. hospitals report to the STS. However, only about 400 hospitals allowed their data to be shared with Consumer Reports.
In order to access the hospital rankings, you need to pay a fee ($6 for a one-month online subscription) which I did. When you research a hospital, like Seqouia Hospital in Redwood City, CA, which is among the top 15 hospitals on the Consumer Reports list, you will see a scorecard which shows several interesting datapoints about the hospital.
Overall, the Consumer Reports rankings provide one more piece of information that patients, their families and friends may want to consider as they do their homework. Still, like most rankings (e.g. U.S. News & World Reports), there may be some pros and cons to the methodology, the criteria, how the data is measured, which procedures are evaluated and which hospitals are included — or not included.
In addition to reviewing these types of reports, I always encourage patients to meet with their surgeon, ask lots of questions (bring a smartphone with a recording app), and tour the cardiac center before surgery.
Trust me… When you are being rolled into the operating room, you want to be 100% confident in your surgeon, their medical staff and the hospital.
Keep on tickin!