While the prospect of having to spend time at a hospital is unpleasant enough, patients also have to deal with the fear of catching a hospital acquired infection.
Now Consumer Reports has made an online system available which gives consumers access to hospital infection rates.
According to a recent Associated Press report, some 30 million surgical procedures are done each year, and up to a half million Americans develop surgical-site infections, mostly from staph bacteria.
In a press release, the head of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, John Santa, M.D., M.P.H. said, "For far too long, consumers have been in the dark, with no easy way to find out how well their hospitals perform when it comes to these often deadly infections."
According to Consumer Reports, the magazine "collected and compared data for ICUs in 926 hospitals, finding tremendous variations within the same cities and even within the same health-care systems. Bloodstream infections cause at least 30 percent of the estimated 99,000 annual hospital-infection-related deaths in the U.S."
"Poorly performing hospitals include several major teaching institutions in major metropolitan areas. Some examples include New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City; the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville; the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio; Strong Memorial in Rochester, N.Y.; Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey; Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, N.J.; and the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center in California," Consumer Reports cited in its release.
Hospitals that fared better, according to Consumer Reports, included the "University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian, St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Harris Methodist in Houston, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, and seven Kaiser hospitals in California."
Click here to access Consumer Reports' ratings.