Measure Type: Outcome, Utilization
In New Jersey, the department of Health and Senior Services along with the Cardiovascular Health Advisory Panel (CHAP) has collected reports on coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) accessible to the public. Data was collected from 17 New Jersey hospitals in 2003-2004. Two years worth of records were gathered on each surgeon. Patients who had another major surgery other than CABG at the time of admissions were not added to their data intake.
The risk-adjusted model excluded patients who had a long length of stay in the hospital; stayed for a short time; or patients who died while in the hospital. Even though these patients were removed from the sample to reduce outliers- the results can still be skewed based on how healthy a patient is before surgery. To help alleviate this problem, the risk-adjusted mortality rate takes into account the patients’ risk factors before/after surgery. “Extra credit” is given to hospitals and surgeons who have a sicker patient population to adjust the mortality rates.
Compared with New York websites on cardiac surgery, illustrations are made to explain the percent increase/decrease in numbers for New Jersey hospitals within the past ten years. This can assist patients to understand whether the quality care is improving in a hospital. The website provides detail that the mortality rate for bypass surgery has made a significant decline since the reports became available to the public in 1994. In comparison with some of the New York websites, New Jersey explains to the public what the analysis represents (i.e. defining “statistically significant”). However, the tables for New Jersey can be difficult for the general public to interpret. Percentages are easier to understand versus reading a table. It can be confounding to compare one hospital to another, since some hospitals perform more cardiac surgeries.