Health care can be a profitable business. And in the fight to attract patients, lots of hospitals are investing in amenities. But assuming you’ll get better treatment just because a hospital has a nicer lobby probably isn’t a good idea, according to Oanh Nguyen, an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UTSW.
“We found that there is not much difference in terms of outcomes between hospitals that had strong financial performance versus those that had no as strong financial performance,” Nguyen says. “Which was a little surprising to us.”
Nguyen co-authored a study that assessed the relationship between the financial performance of more than 250 hospitals against their 30-day mortality and readmission rates. That means they compared how much money a hospital was making and how often their patients were dying or being readmitted to the hospital for heart attacks, congestive heart failure and pneumonia.
The hypothesis? That more profitable hospitals would deliver better care to patients.
The conclusion: “If you have heart failure or if you’re having a heart attack or pneumonia, just get to the nearest hospital,” Nguyen says. “It probably doesn’t make a huge difference in terms of how much a hospital makes – and the external manifestation of that might be how pretty the hospital looks on the outside.”