Are Hospital Deaths a Good Measure of Quality of Care?

A new paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine highlights two different ways deaths are used to measure hospital quality of care. Some insurers and states look at whether the patient dies within 30 days while other insurers and states look at whether the patient dies at the hospital.

The paper’s authors find the two different methods of using death as an indicator of hospital quality to be troublesome and suggest moving to the 30 day rule. The 30 day rule could prevent premature discharges and include deaths that occur outside of the hospital, for example. Looking at deaths in hospitals they argue favors hospitals that routinely have shorter lengths of stay or transfer patients.

What do you think? Is a 30 day rule more accurate? Is death a good indicator of quality of care? Please leave a comment and let our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers know what you think.