NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

High Volumes Spell Success for Hospitals

August 7, 2001

Researchers find a strong correlation between the number of times a particular procedure is performed and the chances a patient's treatment will be a success.

  • A 1998 study published by the American Journal of Public Health found that after five years, breast cancer patients treated at very low-volume hospitals had a 60 percent greater risk of dying than patients from very high-volume hospitals.
  • A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that patients at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York who had surgery to remove parts of lungs affected by cancer had a much better chance of survival -- and fewer complications -- if the surgery was performed in a hospital that did many such surgeries.
  • A study last year in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the in-hospital mortality of patients who underwent primary angioplasty at highest-volume hospitals was 28 percent lower than that of patients at low-volume hospitals.

Similar outcomes apply to liver and heart transplants, as well as coronary bypass surgery.

Source: Ivan Oransky (Praxis Post, an online medical magazine), "Best Hospitals Perform in High Volumes," USA Today, August 7, 2001.

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