In an age of informational transparency, it makes sense that health care consumers might want a ranking of surgical errors by hospital. That visibility could not only help prospective medical patients make informed choices, but perhaps decrease the rate of medical negligence among hospitals.

At least that may have been the hope of some researchers working on the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. The NSQIP is essentially a registry that has been compiling complication and mortality data arising from six common surgical procedures at 199 hospitals. In 2009 alone, approximately 55,466 patients were tracked in the survey data. 

Yet some critics question the reliability of the data. As with many statistical comparisons, certain data reliability checks must be in place. In this case, the National Institutes of Health funded a study of the NSQIP results. Researchers working on that project found that few of the participating hospitals had reliable performance measures. In addition, some critics suggest that 199 hospitals — which represents only about 5 percent of the country’s hospitals — may be too small of a sample to draw any reliable conclusions about the qualify of hospital care.

A medical malpractice attorney knows that hospital negligence might take many forms. If a physician or hospital employee is carless or simply disregards established procedures, patient injuries may result. For patients that were injured and have questions about whether their doctor or hospital may be at fault, an attorney that specializes in hospital negligence may have important insights to share about available legal options.

Source: Modern Healthcare, “Report says surgical-outcomes data unreliable for comparing hospitals,” Andis Robeznieks, March 12, 2014