PDA

View Full Version : Surfing for a hospital


wdlove
Mar 8, 2004, 03:44 PM
New Web services permit patients to search for best hospital to cure what ails them

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff, 3/8/2004

Lots of people won't buy a microwave until they've consulted Consumer Reports. Others won't pick a college without checking the latest rankings from US News & World Report. Comparison shopping is routine for many decisions, but consumers haven't been able to apply this strategy easily to one of the most important choices: Where to go nearby for medical care.

Now that's changing. In the next few years, patients will have access to a growing number of online services to research, compare, and rank hospitals, and eventually doctors. But they need to be cautious about how they use these programs and the conclusions they draw. Some hospitals refuse to reveal whether they meet certain safety standards, thereby avoiding scrutiny. In other cases hospitals look as if they have higher complication rates, with more cases of patients with blood clots after surgery, for example, because they treat sicker patients who are more vulnerable to problems.

http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2004/03/08/surfing_for_a_hospital/

Online rankings rankle hospitals

Insurers offering data to consumers

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff, 3/8/2004

Despite objections from some doctors and hospitals, the state's largest health insurers soon will enable their members to do something they've never been able to do: log onto the Internet to search for the best-rated hospitals for dozens of specific surgeries and illnesses.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/03/08/online_rankings_rankle_hospitals/

rainman::|:|
Mar 8, 2004, 06:26 PM
I was just reading a story about a website (doctorsknowus.com i think) where doctors can post experience with litigious patients... As in, if you sue for malpractice, and you win, doctors can blacklist you on this website. Makes me sick... sorry to all the doctors here, i know your malpractice insurance is through the roof these days, but patients shouldn't have to choose between malpractice suits (many are valid and essential to safety) and future health care. Anyways, this could even the playing field, if only a little. I'd like to see, in response to the website above, sites that rank not only hospitals but individual doctors. At least that way, if a doctor amputated the wrong leg, you could at least warn others without losing medical care :rolleyes:

sorry, i'm normally very respectful of the medical profession, but i'm pretty upset about this one.

paul

arn
Mar 8, 2004, 06:36 PM
Now that's changing. In the next few years, patients will have access to a growing number of online services to research, compare, and rank hospitals, and eventually doctors.

Sounds like a good concept for consumers.... but as stated in the article, you have to be wary in reading the statistics.

For example, let's say you are looking for a neurosurgeon and there's one listed that shows a 50% mortality rate vs. another that shows a 10% mortality rate.

Is the one with a 50% mortality rate a "worse" surgeon or does the 10% mortality rate surgeon simply refuse to see cases that he feels have a poor chance -- thereby ruining his good record.

In other words, if this becomes prevalent.... will docs take less "chances" for a cure when the outcome might affect their "score" on these sites.

An oversimplified example: you will die in the next week if nothing is done. But if we do surgery, you have a 5% chance of being "cured" -- or at least prolonging your life for a while.... and a 95% chance of dying with the surgery... but it's 100% if you don't do anything.

obviously, we'd hope all options are available to the patient... but hospitals are a business, and hmo's are a business.... so it's not unrealistic to see that external pressures will be placed on these sort of decisions.

arn

wdlove
Mar 25, 2004, 03:23 PM
Health plans set care surcharges

Tiered system tied to provider costs

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff, 3/25/2004

Rising medical costs will force many Massachusetts residents starting in July to pay steep surcharges for choosing treatment at expensive teaching hospitals or high-priced doctors' offices.

Much the way health plans now charge consumers extra for brand-name medicines, insurers are adopting "tiered" hospital and doctor networks. These new plans judge hospitals and doctors not only on their costs but on the quality of care they provide. Consumers will pay the least to go to hospitals that are the so-called best value -- ones that provide good care at a reasonable cost. Now most consumers pay the same amount no matter where they get care.

Employers nationally are pushing insurers to rank providers and give consumers financial incentives to choose the highest-quality, least-expensive doctors and hospitals. Many insurers have set up Internet sites that allow consumers to search for the best-rated hospitals for dozens of specific surgeries or illnesses -- programs that have raised the ire of hospital executives. The next step is to create financial incentives for patients to use these highly ranked providers.http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/03/25/health_plans_set_care_surcharges/