What's New and Noteworthy

Quality of Care is Equivalent in Community and Teaching Hospitals

A study comparing the clinical quality and cost of care at community hospitals and academic medical centers finds that community hospitals deliver similar quality of care at a much lower price and may outperform academic centers in some areas.

Research tracked seven inpatient complications at community and teaching hospitals. Community hospitals outperformed academic centers in mortality and wound infection and urinary tract infections. Teaching hospitals had better results for pneumonia after major surgery. Inpatient costs at academic medical centers were 19% higher than at community hospitals.

Since I work at a community hospital, I was encouraged to learn of this new research. It has been my opinion for many years that this was indeed the situation. While I do not work at an academic medical center, many of our patients over the years have been treated at academic medical centers (teaching hospitals) and I have been aware of the many complications that have arisen during their care at those centers.

I am in no way denigrating the care that is delivered to patients at academic medical centers, but patients seem to experience the same problems there as they do in our community hospital and in some situations as the research points out, they have even more complications and problems at the larger centers.