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Blood Clot Numbers Not Indicative of Hospital Quality

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A new study suggests that the bigger the number of patients who form blood clots following surgery, the more high-quality the hospital is, which is the exact opposite of what has traditionally been thought about this correlation.

Researchers from Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago found high-quality hospitals and those that routinely test for the complications tend to have higher rates of blood clots than lesser-quality hospitals because those do not check for clots as often, Reuters reported. Lead author Dr. Karl Bilimoria told Reuters that typically a higher complication rate means you’re not doing a good job; however, in this case it’s the opposite.

The researchers warned that since the hospitals and doctors that look for the blood clots tend to find more of them, a hospital’s blood clot numbers can give an inaccurate impression of its quality. For the study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Bilimoria and his colleagues reviewed data from 2,786 hospitals and 954,926 patients released after surgery between 2009 and 2010, Reuters reported. All the patients were on Medicare.

During one portion of the study, the researchers compared high-quality hospitals with those they considered low quality. They defined high-quality hospitals as those that did a high number of surgeries and organ transplants and were teaching hospitals, Reuters reported. They found that high-quality hospitals were more likely to follow through with blood clot prevention methods, yet still had a higher percentage of surgery patients with clots. According to Reuters, high-quality hospitals reported around 6.4 blood clots for every 1,000 surgery patients, compared to 4.8 clots per 1,000 patients at lower-quality hospitals. disclaimer: This article: Blood Clot Numbers Not Indicative of Hospital Quality was posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 at 8:17 pm at and is filed under Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.

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