National health info gatherer rates hospitals

Barb Sweet
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The Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s. — Telegram file photo

The largest hospital in the province falls below the national performance range for patients who die after major surgery and strokes, according to a sweeping report that examines many acute care hospitals across the country.

The General Hospital at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's, the province's largest hospital, provincial trauma centre and also a teaching facility, was below the performance range in 2010-11 when it came to the mortality rate for patients who died within 30 days of having a stroke. It also performed below range for patients who died within five days of major surgery.

See a graphic of the results here

The range is the way in which the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) measures the performance of hospitals. Wednesday, CIHI released a report that digs into the operations of hospitals in a statistical way never seen before in Canada. There are several key areas that were measured for hospitals across the country and readmission and mortality rates are among them.

CIHI also examined financial performance and found that Newfoundland and Labrador, while it costs about $1,100 more to care for an average patient than the rest of the country, is spending just as much on administrative services as anyone else - indicating it is as efficient as the rest of the health care system in Canada, said Kira Leeb, CIHI's director of health system performance

CIHI, as it did for all hospitals across the country, measured Newfoundland and Labrador for performance on readmission rates after heart attacks, stroke, hip and knee replacements. It also examined mortality rates following a heart attack, stroke and major surgery, some adverse events and Caesarean section rates, among 21 clinical factors.

"There are some areas where Newfoundland and Labrador is performing at the Canadian average and places where it is below the Canadian average," Leeb said.

The data is a heads up to all hospitals on how they perform compared to the nation's other hospitals and facilities their size, showing problem areas as well as where they are doing things right or better than the rest of the country.

Patients who are obtaining a procedure can see how their hospital rates and can use that information to more aggressively push for their own care and recovery.

"This information really does provide some level of transparency and accountability for the health care system to the public," Leeb said.

"It's important to Canadians to know how the health care system is performing."

Although the General Hospital was above the performance range for the rate of patients who had to be readmitted following hip replacements as well as strokes in 2009-10, it had fallen below those ranges by 2010-11.

It met the national performance range when it comes to readmission rates following heart attacks and had no more patients dying from heart attacks than other facilities. The General Hospital also placed above the performance range when it comes to the rate of patients readmitted following knee replacements.

In 2010-11, Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre fell below the national performance range as a medium community hospitals for deaths following heart attacks and major surgeries.

Western Memorial fell below the performance range for readmissions following a heart attack as well as the rate of deaths following a stroke.

Newfoundland and Labrador overall also had a higher rate of Caesarean sections than the rest of the country in 2010-22, and a worse record when it comes to four adverse events - urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, in-hospital fractures and pneumonia - suffered by surgical patients during their care.

Smaller hospitals are rated with the acknowledgement they have low volumes that make it trickier to interpret their results, but CIHI noted the importance of providing information on them.

Overall, the CIHI hospital project released 50,000 pieces of data on hospitals across the country.



Organizations: CIHI, General Hospital, Health Sciences Centre Canadian Institute for Health Information Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre CIHI hospital

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • McLovin
    April 05, 2012 - 13:45

    This is news? Patients and their families have been saying this for years!!