Health Information Management

News: Hospital billing data no reflection of safety records

CDI Strategies, May 19, 2016

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Data used to gauge and rank the safety of hospitals are woefully inaccurate, according to Johns Hopkins researchers, in a meta-study published in the journal Medical Care. Only one patient safety indicator (PSI)—out of 21—should be considered a true indicator of hospital safety, says Bradford Winters, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins, the study's lead author. Of the 21 PSI measures developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and CMS, 16 had insufficient data and could not be evaluated, five contained enough information to be considered for the analysis, and only PSI 15 accidental punctures or lacerations obtained during surgery—met the researchers' criteria to be considered valid.
The potentially inaccurate measures evaluated in the meta-study are also used by several high-profit public rating systems, including U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Score, and CMS’ Star Ratings.
"These measures … misinform patients, misclassify hospitals, misapply financial data, and cause unwarranted reputational harm to hospitals," Winters said in remarks accompanying the study. "If the measures don’t hold up to the latest science, then we need to re-evaluate whether we should be using them to compare hospitals."
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