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"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

Hospital Quality, Patient Safety Measures Updated

The ratings for Minnesota hospitals were recently updated on MNHealthScores.org. The site includes ratings on more than 140 Minnesota hospitals about how often patients received recommended care, rates of serious complications, and how satisfied patients were with their overall experience.

This month, six inpatient quality and patient safety measures were updated with results from 2014 hospital stays. These measures were developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and data is collected by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). All hospital measures available on MNHealthScores.org are provided to MNCM by MHA to be publicly reported.

The newly updated measures are:

The Patient Deaths and two Patient Safety categories are composite ratings. Rather than asking consumers to evaluate a variety of different patient safety metrics to intuit how safe a hospital is, these compile multiple patient safety measures into a single, composite rating for each hospital.

The Surgery Complications measure evaluates on patient complications following surgery. High quality care following surgery should identify complications early so they can be treated. The average rate of surgery complications was 10 percent.

The two Vaginal Delivery measures reports the rate of perineum tears during childbirth. Lower rates of tears during vaginal deliveries can be a sign of better hospital quality. The average rate of tears during deliveries using assistive instruments, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor, was 14 percent; the average rate during deliveries that did not require assistive instruments was 3 percent.

Additionally, all measures indicate the number of related procedures each hospital has performed. For example, the Vaginal Delivery with Instrument measure indicates the number of deliveries using assistive instruments performed at each hospital during 2014. Multiple research studies have concluded that patient outcomes are better at hospitals that perform more of that surgery or procedure.

Hospital measures are updated annually. The hospital patient experience measures on MNHealthScores.org will be updated later this year.