Top 5 Worst Hospitals

In the United States, no widespread development of hospitals occured before the 1880s. Almshouses, the precursor to hospitals, existed in almost all cities of moderate size, however, these institutions mainly provided food and shelter to the destitute. Pesthouses were used to quarantine people that had contracted contagious diseases. When the “dreaded hospital” finally developed, mortality rates among hospital patients stood around 74% in the 1870s. It was no personal choice to check into a hospital. And while hospital outcomes have definitely turned for the best, there are still those hospitals that one might want to avoid.

In a dataset published by CMS, eight different types of hospital acquired outcomes are measured and reported by local hospitals receiving Medicare funding. From that dataset, below are the 5 worst hospitals in each of the eight categories. Getting sick? You may want to check out your local hospital ratings before making a decision. Continue reading…

Patients Lowering Health Care Costs

For the past decade, health care has been in the forefront of economists and policy-makers. In a system that currently spends 17% of GDP on health care, and projected to increase by 5.8% yearly until 2020, it’s no secret to the average American that health care is going through major changes, both at state and federal levels. Meaningful Use, a set of policies intended to increase #HealthIT adoption, initially focused on ensuring adoption by practitioners and health care providers across the nation. With MU Stage 2 on the horizon, the ONC has now added a focus on the patient, giving patients the ability to gain timely access to their data. I have confidence that future stages (3, 4, etc), will only build on this framework to include the patient as a principal actor in the heath care process.

From a health policy standpoint, the patient has been largely ignored in the health care equation. Since the financial contribution of most patients is minimal, the role of the health care consumer has fallen out of sight. Most new proposed laws and reforms attempt to fix problems by reducing reimbursements and increasing adoption of technology to improve processes and lower costs. Yet none of these regulations include the patient in the cost-reduction program. This post promotes the patient as an important player and decision-maker in the health care process. So how can the patient help decrease health care spending?

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Price, Quality and Desire in Healthcare

If you’ve had the opportunity to watch some sessions from TEDMED 2012, then you may have seen Dr. Jon Cohen, CMO of Quest Diagnostics, speak during today’s session 8. His entire talk came from a personal experience with his father choosing a surgeon based on the fact that said surgeon provided donuts for his waiting patients. Dr. Cohen explained why consumer-based healthcare is not working, making some comparisons between the different levels of price, quality and desire. Please note that this does not, in any way, try to insult Dr. Cohen’s theory, and I may be the outlier here, but I respectfully disagree with some of the statements made during his TED talk.  Continue reading…