Do top GI hospitals ranked by U.S. News have better outcomes?

Patients needing gastrointestinal cancer resections should consider undergoing procedures at high-volume regional medical centers like the top-ranked hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.

An article published March 19 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons examined whether the U.S. News & World Report rankings predicted better outcomes for complex gastrointestinal cancer resection procedures.

Study authors analyzed data from the Vizient database for patients who underwent complex GI cancer resections at 42 top-ranked hospitals and 197 unranked hospitals. Study authors found:

1. The mean case volume was four-fold higher at the top ranked hospitals than at the unranked hospitals. The ranked hospitals reported a mean of 73 GI cancer resections performed annually while unranked hospitals reported a mean of 18 cases per year.

2. Top-ranked hospitals reported 0.96 percent mortality rate, lower than the 2.26 percent reported at unranked hospitals.

3. The mortality rate for patients with a serious morbidity was 8.2 percent at top-ranked hospitals and 16.8 percent at unranked hospitals.

4. Both ranked and unranked hospitals reported similar length of stay, serious complication rates and direct costs.

"Patients with complex GI-related malignancies may benefit from seeking surgical care at high-volume regional USNWR top-ranked hospitals," concluded the study authors.

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