Poughkeepsie Journal article shows correlation between barcoding and quality healthcare

January 31, 2011 | In: Changing Culture

Poughkeepsie Journal, The (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Copyright 2011 Gannett

January 28, 2011

Vassar Brothers Medical Center gets high ranking for low mortality, complication rates January 28, 2011
If all the hospitals in the nation performed as well as Vassar Brothers Medical Center, hundreds of thousands of medical errors could be prevented, according to a newly released HealthGrades study.

For ranking in the top 5 percent of U.S. hospitals, Vassar Brothers was named a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence by the independent health-care ratings company based in Denver.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Vassar Brothers Chief Executive Officer Daniel Aronzon said. “This is a direct result of the large investments we’ve made in patient safety and quality over the past eight years.”

The City of Poughkeepsie health-care center was compared to about 5,000 hospitals on patient death and complication rates, using millions of Medicare patient discharge outcomes for 2007-09. Distinguished hospitals had a 30 percent lower in-hospital mortality rate and a 2 percent lower in-hospital complication rate, adjusted for risk, among Medicare beneficiaries.

Vassar Brothers was one of 11 hospitals that helped the New York City metropolitan area place 50th in HealthGrades’ comparison of top cities for hospital care.

West Palm Beach, Fla., led the nation.

Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades spokesman, said there were “profound” differences in hospital performances.

Another trend he’s seeing: Consumers are willing to drive farther and pay more for care at a highly rated hospital.

“We’re seeing much more consumerism toward health care,” he said.

Aronzon said the award “tells us we’re better than 95 percent of the hospitals in the country when it comes to saving lives and reducing complications.”

From 2004 to 2010, he said, Vassar Brothers invested $62 million to improve care, including implementing medical bar coding, improving nursing staff ratios and concentrating on communication training programs for emergency medical staff.

The complete list can be found at www.healthgrades.com.

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