While sustained excellence in cardiac care is rare, hospitals that excel in all three major areas of cardiac care--acute MI (AMI), PCI and CABG--have more cardiac patient admissions and lower average risk-adjusted mortality rates, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's (AHA) 10th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke.
Investigators said that 36 out of 643 hospitals studied were ranked as top-performing hospitals--meaning they scored in the top quartile for all three services in at least one of the study years and no lower than the second quartile in the other two years.
The hospitals treated approximately 20 percent more heart patients and saved more lives across all three services during the study period than the 29 lowest-performing hospitals.
Five facilities were ranked in the top quartile (for lives saved) for all three years. The researchers studied the average risk-adjusted mortality rates among Medicare beneficiary patients treated between Oct. 1, 2004 and Sept. 30, 2007 (FY 2005, 2006 and 2007).
According to the researchers, if patients treated at lower-performing hospitals had been treated at the top-performing institutions, the lives of more than 700 patients per year could have been saved.
"Further study will help us understand what the top-performing hospitals are doing to achieve consistently lower risk-adjusted mortality rates, which in turn can provide guidance to other hospitals to improve their clinical outcomes," said April Simon, RN, MSN, one of the researchers and founder of Cardiac Data Solutions
The research was funded and conducted by Cardiac Data Solutions.