Blog | Thursday, February 26, 2009

Best care doesn't always get best ratings, doc finds

Medicare's Hospital Compare Web site attempts to help the public compare hospitals based on quality of care, but it can also make good doctors look bad, WhiteCoat blogs.

Case in point #1: Docs are required by offical quality indicators to give thrombolytics within 30 minutes of a heart attack patient's arrival. But what if that patient also just suffered a significant head injury? Does the doc try to meet the 30-minute window by skipping the CT scan, thus risking the patient's life if there is internal bleeding? Of course not, says WhiteCoat, but according to Hospital Compare, "my decision made me a bad doctor."

Don't trust everything you read on the comparison site, WhiteCoat concludes.
But how do patients separate the wheat from the chafe?