In an effort to find out if the Texas Busniness Group on Health's website report cards on Texas hospitals are an effective tool for the public, NewsChannel 11 talked to Dr. James Burke, a surgeon at Covenant Medical Group. He says there is some valuable information to be found there, but he cautions some of it is not valuable at all.
He says, at face value, the website gives good information on mortality rates and the number of procedures a hospital does each year, but those things are not what concern him. Dr. Burke says, "It gives a lot of information regarding charges and cost and so on and a lot of these can't be validated. So, I think it's important the general public have some information on how information is gathered and what it really means."
Before you even are allowed into the business group's findings, you must acknowlege you've read a disclaimer saying the information may not be accurate due to outside variables like pre-existing conditions or differences in record keeping.
A glance at the website shows Convenant Medical Center consistently charges more than University Medical Center. That's a concern for Dr. Burke. He says, "There's a lot of initiative out there to improve quality and safety and quality and safety cost money."
Conversely, Dr. Burke says the website's info on procedures performed each year is usefull to patients when selecting a hospital. He explains, "The more you do, the better you're going to get at doing it and the better the outcome is going to be."
Dr. Burke suggested a couple of websites he feels are more valuable to patients one is Health Grades.com, the other is Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.