Top Hospitals 2014 - Health & Wellness - Atlanta Magazine
 
 

Top Hospitals 2014

Hospital Quality Matters
Advice from Healthgrades: How to find the best hospital for you

If you’re like most people facing a health condition that requires hospital care, you’re not thinking about where you’ll be treated. You assume you’ll go to the closest hospital or wherever your doctor sends you, and it will be fine. It’s not that simple. Don’t confuse healthcare convenience and quality. Where you’re treated matters every bit as much as the doctor providing the care.

All hospitals are not the same when it comes to quality of care. Some offer significantly better care than others, and the difference can be dramatic. How dramatic? Your chances of surviving heart bypass surgery could be 85.6 percent higher at one hospital than at another hospital just down the road. Your chances of sailing through a total knee replacement without complications could be 63.4 percent higher. These statistics are based on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for Medicare-enrolled patients.

Hospitals are required to report the results of the treatments they provide. This information tells us if patients at a particular hospital are more or less likely to have a successful medical outcome. When it comes to hospital care, Healthgrades defines success in two ways. The first is mortality: Did patients die during or after their care? The second is complication rates: Did patients experience unexpected health issues, such as an infection or blood clot, that required additional medical care? Reviewing a hospital’s performance based on objective measures of quality can increase your chances of a good outcome.

How We Rate Hospital Quality
Healthgrades rates hospital quality based solely on objective measures of performance: mortality and complication rates. First, we calculate the mortality and complication rates a hospital is expected to have for a range of common conditions and procedures—from maternity care to knee replacements. Some facilities serve higher numbers of patients with conditions that tend to be more challenging.  We adjust those hospitals’ predicted rates to give them credit for sicker, more complicated patients. Then we calculate the actual rates. After comparing the expected and actual rates, we place hospitals into one of three categories for their performance on each procedure or condition:

***** (five stars)
better than expected

*** (three stars)
as expected

* (one star)
worse than expected

This special issue of Atlanta magazine provides Healthgrades star ratings for all metro hospitals that have five-star ratings in one or more categories (not all star ratings are published here; visit healthgrades.com for additional ratings, such as patient satisfaction). Counties included are Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, and Rockdale. Annually, Healthgrades also recognizes top performers in certain specialties, patient safety, or overall clinical excellence. Recipients of those awards are indicated here as well. Use our ratings to find top-rated hospitals near you, and look for doctors who have admitting privileges—permission to treat patients—at those facilities.

Next page: How to select a doctor

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