Report: Highland Hospital among best for not ordering unnecessary tests

Report: Highland Hospital among best for not ordering unnecessary tests

Highland Hospital has been named among the top hospitals nationwide in a new study that looked at avoiding unnecessary hospital tests and procedures.

The Lown Institute Hospitals Index ranked the Rochester hospital fourth among nearly 3,200 facilities nationwide, behind just Scott County Hospital in Scott City, Kansas; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; and West River Regional Medical Center in Hettinger, N.D.

The institute found that more than 1 million tests and procedures performed in hospitals on Medicare patients from 2016 to 2018 met established criteria for overuse. Among the 12 low-value services measured, hysterectomy for benign disease, the placement of coronary stents for stable heart disease, and diagnostic tests like head imaging for fainting were particularly widespread, with more than 90 percent of hospitals overusing these tests or procedures.

“Overuse in American hospitals is a pervasive problem that needs to be addressed,” said Vikas Saini M.D., president of the Lown Institute. “Hospitals want to do better and these objective measures of performance can help them move forward.”

The nation’s top hospitals for avoiding overuse are not the most well-known institutions in the country, but regional health care providers, the report notes. Providers in the southern U.S. are absent from the list of top hospitals and, in fact, occupy the bottom five positions on the list.

Out of the 50 top-performing hospitals, nine are in New England and 10 in the Pacific Northwest, making those regions stand out at the top of the list. The South was home to 41 of the 50 lowest-performing hospitals, with five of the bottom 10 located in Florida, the report’s authors noted.

The Cleveland Clinic (58th) was the only hospital from the current U.S. News honor roll to break into the Lown top 100 for avoiding overuse.

Other notable findings:

• Nationwide, 64 percent of hysterectomies analyzed met established criteria for overuse. In North Dakota and Wyoming, the rate of hysterectomy overuse was 90 percent and 94 percent, respectively.
• Nearly one in four coronary stent procedures met established criteria for overuse nationwide. As many as 200,000 patients may have had stents placed unnecessarily over the years studied.
• Vertebroplasty, a procedure to inject cement into the spine, which has been found to be ineffective for osteoporosis-related fractures in numerous trials, is still overused by many hospitals. In Florida, more than 3,600 vertebroplasties were performed in the years studied.

The Lown Institute was founded in 1973 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Bernard Lown M.D., developer of the defibrillator and cardioverter.

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