High-quality hospitals deliver lower-cost care to trauma patients. That’s according to a news release from the University of Rochester Medical Center on its study published in the Annals of Surgery.
The lead author, Laurent G. Glance, M.D., is a professor of anesthesiology and community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The study analyzed data from 67,104 patients admitted to 73 trauma centers in 2006. Most of the patients were male, between the ages of 40 and 50 years old. The patients sustained serious injuries from automobile accidents, gunshots, stab wounds, falls and other trauma.
Results found high-quality hospitals had death rates that were 34 percent lower and spent almost 22 percent less on trauma patient care, when compared with average-quality hospitals. Researchers acknowledge that the reason why is not clear.
One speculation is that higher-quality hospitals may have fewer patient complications, which can lead to increased length of stay and cost and higher rates of death.
Researchers measured hospital quality by comparing predicted mortality rates to actual rates. Those hospitals with significantly higher mortality rates than predicted received a low-quality classification. High-quality hospitals experienced significantly lower mortality rates than expected.
Hospitals estimate mortality rates based on the severity of the injury and the patient’s age, gender and overall health prior to the injury.
Researchers recognize the limitation of the study due to its “snapshot of trauma care quality and cost” and recommend further study before confirming the results before concluding that increasing quality will yield lower costs.