Fraser Institute’s Hospital report card a controversal measuring tool

Health organizations say Fraser Institute's Hospital Report Card can be misleading.

The Fraser Institute’s recent  Hospital Report Card is a controversial document among health care organizations.

“It’s pretty much impossible for the average British Columbian to use the information in a useful way,” said Mike Old, a spokesman for the Hospital Employees’ Union.

He said it could be hard for people to make “heads or tails” of the information, categories such as risk adjustment, and what it means and how it will affect them.

The document, released this month, compares the death, infection and other rates for procedures among 95 acute care hospitals in the province. There are 41 indicators overall. The report data is from more than 3 million anonymous patient records from the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s discharge abstract database. However, unlike previous years the report no longer has overall mortality index ranking all hospitals against each other in one index.

Stephen May, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said in an e-mail that the report is an important document that allows for transparency but it has strengths and weaknesses.

“We have a number of concerns with the Fraser Institute’s methodology – concerns shared by other jurisdictions in Canada,” he said. “These report cards are evolving tools that must be interpreted with caution. It is more important to compare hospital performance over time than to compare hospitals against each other.

“Ranking hospitals against each other can be volatile and misleading, as hospitals serve different patients with different needs, requiring different procedures.”

He said some hospitals may handle more complex procedures or have a larger volume while others may perform very little, which could lead more expert facilities ranked lower.

May’s sentiments are shared by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. In a statement to the News Bulletin VIHA said that the rankings can shift dramatically from year to year particularly in smaller hospitals based on a few more deaths that might not have been preventable.

The Nanaimo Regional General hospital received a rating on par with most B.C. institutions for most procedures. However for the past several years it has performed worse than the B.C. average on congestive heart failure mortality rates and acute stroke mortality rates. Since 2006-07 NRGH has received a worse than average in congestive heart failure. In acute stroke it received a worse than average mortality rate from 2001-05. It returned to the provincial average for a couple of years and then dipped again from 2007-09.

However, NRGH has been excelling at laparoscopic cholecystectomy, invasive gall bladder removal, and has performed better than average from 2001-09.

Old said realistically a person living in Nanaimo can’t go to a hospital in Kitimat or Nelson for a procedure if it has a better ranking. People are treated in their community and need to demand that their health care providers are kept accountable for the services they offer.

“Nanaimo Regional General Hospital has had its problems but at the end of the day there are thousands of people that receive good quality service every month,” said Old.

Old said people who have concerns should speak to their physicians about their local health care service.

Nadeem Esmail, a Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of the report, said the report is a valuable tool to compare trends over time in a hospital and hold health care institutions accountable.

Esmail said a hospital that consistently performs worse than the provincial average should be asked questions and ones that perform significantly better should be used as examples of excellence for other institutions to learn from.

The Hospital Report Card is available at www.hospitalreportcards.ca.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Tour de Rock ready to start making its way down Vancouver Island

Tour de Rock takes place Sept. 21 to Oct. 4

Nanaimo high school students cut class to attend climate action rally

Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo rally raises awareness, demands action against climate change

Public meeting will explore ideas to battle addiction and crime in Nanaimo

Organizers call for treatment centres, accountability for crimes, citizens’ task force

VIU students empowered to ‘shift the vote’ this election

VIU Students’ Union, B.C. Federation of Students launch ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates ‘disappointed’ with prime minister over blackface

Situation a ‘nightmare’ for Trudeau and the Liberals, says VIU professor

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo athletes earn gold, silver, bronze at 55-Plus B.C. Games

Huge contingent of local participants competed in largest-ever 55-Plus B.C. Games in Kelowna

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Most Read