The number of U.S. patients killed annually by medical errors is equivalent to 4 jumbo jets crashing each week. Some prestigious hospitals participating in a national collaborative to measure surgical complications have four to five times more complications as other hospitals. It’s the kind of data that, if you had access to it, would help you know just where to find the best care. But you don’t. And that is precisely the problem with the entire system: because a hospital’s outcomes are hidden from the public, neither consumers nor payers have any way of measuring whether the medicine they provide is good, adequate, or even safe.
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