Earlier this year the American Medical Association (AMA) released a list of high-risk surgeries for adults aged 65 and older. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), spleen surgeries, small bowel and related colon procedures were among the surgeries that made the list. So when families have older loved ones who have to undergo such surgeries, how can they find the best hospital for that procedure?
While you could rely on word-of-mouth or top 10 lists of the region, there is now a purely data-driven resource you should bookmark.
MPIRICA is a newcomer to the Seattle startup scene and was inspired by founder and CEO Shakil Haroon’s search for the best local hospital when a family member required surgery. What he didn’t find was a central place where he could research this potentially life- and cost-saving information. Each year magazines, such as Consumer Reports and U.S. News, produce lists ranking the top hospitals around the nation, but what’s missing are outcomes-based, procedure-level ratings for every public hospital nationwide.
To fill this information void, in 2014 Haroon founded MPIRICA with the goal of developing a ratings system. He soon found that such a ratings system required deep MD level expertise. A search for such expertise led him to partner with MPA HealthCare Solutions and the MPIRICA Quality Score was born. MPA HealthCare Solutions, under the leadership of Harvard-trained cardiologist and MPIRICA co-founder Dr. Michael Pine, is responsible for the analysis used to determine the popular Consumer Reports’ top hospitals issue and other healthcare ratings.
We created MPIRICA to deliver ratings based purely on the outcomes achieved by hospitals and surgeons, explains Bob Piper, who is responsible for MPIRICA’s business and technology alliances. The source data for the MPIRICA Quality Score is publically available from the Center for Medicare Services. Any hospital that accepts Medicare and Medicaid is required to provide data, such as type of surgery, cost, adverse effects and patient age. These audited results make it a “great source of data,” Piper says, but we do have to scrub and normalize it, which is where Dr. Pine’s expertise and scoring comes in.
Currently 65 in-patient surgeries and nearly 5,000 hospitals are included in the MPIRICA data. Scores range from a low of 100 to a high of 800. A low score represents a significantly higher risk of an adverse outcome.
Piper says that although out-patient surgeries, which are the most common, are currently not scored, over 25,000 surgeon scores are being added. “If a surgeon has a great score for an in-patient procedure such as total knee replacement, you can be confident in their ability to perform related out-patient surgeries, such as ACL reconstruction,” he says. MPIRICA plans to add scores for out-patient procedures by the fall of 2015.
Hospitals you won’t find are those in the Veteran’s Affairs system, and if a surgery hasn’t been performed at a specific hospital enough times to reach critical mass, it won’t be included since statistical significance hasn’t been reached.
On MPIRICA’s website, consumers can search for a surgery’s MPIRICA Quality Score at hospitals across the nation for free. And when you pair this search with a list, such as the high-risk surgeries for older adults mentioned earlier, families can make more-informed decisions about the quality and cost of surgical treatments.
For example to find the hospitals which are highly rated for CABG, find its ICD9 code on the AMA list and select this same surgery on the MPIRICA website. (On the MPIRICA website, the period is missing, i.e. the AMA list says 36.14 and MPIRICA is 3614.) Then, select the City and State you live and click Search. In the Seattle area, Harrison Memorial Center, Providence St. Peter Hospital and Providence Regional Medical Center all received a score of 620, which is in the top 25 percent of hospitals nationwide.