What good are gross hospital statistics?

Play the game, and then let me know if you're really going to make buying decisions based on this information. While you're on your back.

HHS logoHere is a site I would like our American readers to check out, now or when you find the time.

It was released over the weekend with great fanfare. The idea is that you input a disease, check off up to three hospitals, and get a report on how they do.

Some local reporters have already played the game, delivering their readers gross generalizations about the quality of local care.

I played the game myself. I input three area hospitals, my favorite incipient health condition (a heart attack) and spun the wheel.

I found they're all very similar in outcomes, and each one of them is going to give me the stop-smoking lecture. (I don't smoke.)

A whole lot of good people got together to put this information online, but what is its real utility?

Certainly it's possible that one hospital does better than another on a specific measurement. But how much of that is really down to the hospital's "quality" commitment?

Couldn't the patient population have more to do with it -- cheeseburger in, heart attack out?

Play the game, and then let me know if you're really going to make buying decisions based on this information. While you're on your back.

Your tax dollars at work.

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