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Study Finds Research Performance by Hospitals Important Additional Indicator of Superior Quality of Care

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In a new analysis conducted by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and reported in Health Services Research, hospitals that published scientific studies had higher patient ratings and lower patient mortality rates for a range of medical conditions and procedures.

The analysis included all publications attributed to authors from a 40% random sample of U.S. Medicare-participating hospitals from 2015 through 2016. Only 647 of 1,604 study hospitals (40.3%) had at least one publication during this time. Being a teaching hospital, a larger institution, geographic location, and not-for-profit ownership were predictors of higher publication volumes, whereas the percent of Medicaid admissions was inversely related.

After linking publication data to quality measures extracted from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare site, hospitals with more publications had lower risk-adjusted patient mortality rates for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. Also, surveys indicated that hospitals with more publications were more likely to receive the highest overall ratings from patients, and they also had significantly higher patient “willingness to recommend” scores.

Researchers concluded that research performance may be an important additional indicator of superior quality of care, and it deserves consideration from measure developers, providers, and patients.

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