Chicago’s safest hospital — in terms of avoiding patient infections and deaths — is Resurrection Medical Center on the Northwest Side, according to a Consumer Reports safety rating of more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals.
The least safe for patients was South Shore Hospital on the South Side, which ranked low because of a lack of communication with patients and overuse of hospital scans.
Consumer Reports released its ratings Thursday, looking at five categories in rating patient safety: mortality, re-admissions, overuse of CT scans, hospital-acquired infections and communication.
In the Chicago suburbs, the best rating — 66 out of 100 — went to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital in west suburban La Grange. The 187-bed hospital had just one bloodstream infection from April 2012 to March 2013, which is 70 percent better than the national rate from data compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It ranked poorly in one aspect: prolonged hospital stays after hip replacement surgeries.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital scored a 45, tying with several hospitals, including Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood and the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago. Northwestern ranked well on avoiding both medical and surgical deaths but had 30 bloodstream infections and 18 surgical-site infections within a year, below the national rate.
The national average safety score was 51, while the highest-ranking hospitals in the country ranked in the upper 70s.
Dr. Doris Peter, associate director of Consumer Reports Health, directed staff in analyzing the hospitals. She said the rating shouldn’t be used merely to rank hospitals, but to inform patients about issues the hospital might need to address.
“I think the challenge of the scores are facing the issues. For example, the hospitals that have a black circle in any of the infection measures, patients can inquire about what the hospital is doing to prevent hospital-acquired infections and why they haven’t prevented those infections,” Peter said.
In the communications ratings, Peter said hospitals that ranked well made sure patients were informed about medications and after-care instructions.
Although hospitals in Chicago area suburbs ranked better than some Chicago hospitals, Peter said studies have shown that urban hospitals have bigger challenges.
“Overall, we found individual hospitals in urban areas that performed well. I think it’s possible for the hospital to improve,” Peter said. “. . . Just because you live in an urban area doesn’t mean you should expect less or lower-quality care.”