Hospital outcomes for women improve, but some hospitals fall far behind: Healthgrades study


Three-year study of women's cardiac and stroke outcomes shows 39% lower mortality in the best-performing hospitals, compared with poor performers

HealthGrades updates hospital ratings for women's health and maternity care on

Golden, Colo. (June 27, 2005) � American hospitals improved women's survival rates by 11 percent for cardiac disease and stroke from 2001 through 2003, according to the HealthGrades Women's Health Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals study, released today. But a "quality chasm" was clearly visible, with the best-performing hospitals registering a 39 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate than the poorest-performing hospitals in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

HealthGrades also announced today that based on the study it has updated the ratings on its consumer Web site of women's health and maternity care at nearly 1,500 hospitals.

For many cardiac procedures, the difference in mortality rates between the nation's best-performing hospitals � those in the top 15 percent � and the poorest-performing hospitals � those in the bottom 15 percent � was dramatic. For example, the risk of mortality for women undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) was 46.44 percent lower, on average, at the nation's best-performing hospitals, compared with the poorest-performing hospitals.

"Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death among women � killing nearly one out of every two women and amounting to almost one death every minute. And yet, only a small percentage of women believes that cardiovascular disease is their biggest threat, and only one in five doctors know that CVD kills more women than men each year," said Dr. Samantha Collier, an author of the study and HealthGrades' vice president of medical affairs. "We applaud efforts by the American Heart Association and others who have increased women's awareness of risks, and we applaud the hospitals that are improving their quality so quickly."

The study finds that:

  • Best-performing hospitals' overall improvement rate was approximately 12.7 percent during the years 2001 through 2003 compared to an overall average improvement rate of approximately 5.7 percent among the poorest-performing hospitals.

  • The greatest improvement across the board in women's mortality is in CABG surgery, at 16.44 percent, while the smallest improvement in women's mortality from 2001 to 2003 is in stroke, at 3.35 percent.

  • The widest improvement gap between the best-performing and poorest-performing hospitals is in heart failure; the best-performing hospitals show an average of 23.7 percent improvement from 2001 to 2003, and the poorest-performing hospitals improved an average of 4.28 percent.

  • The greatest differences in women's cardiac and stroke outcomes between the best-performing and poorest-performing hospitals is seen in percutaneous coronary interventions, such as angioplasties (PCI), heart failure and CABG surgery. On average, women treated at the best-performing hospitals have a 42.75 percent lower risk of mortality for PCI, a 43.63 percent lower risk of mortality for heart failure and a 46.44 percent lower risk of mortality for CABG surgery.

The third annual study analyzes women's outcomes from more than 1,500 hospitals in the 17 states that publish data, representing 57.9 percent of the U.S. population. The study examines women's outcomes from CABG, valve-replacement surgery, PCI, acute myocardial infarction or heart attack (AMI), heart failure and stroke. "We now know that women's average outcomes for cardiovascular care can vary by as much as 46 percent between the best-performing and poorest-performing hospitals," continued Dr. Collier. "Women must arm themselves with information to make informed decisions and seek out the high-quality hospitals in their area."

The study analyzes hospitals in the following 17 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The results of the study are available to consumers free of charge at HealthGrades' Web site,, where hospitals receive quality ratings in 28 different procedures and diagnoses. The full methodology can also be found on the Web site.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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