Think your kid really needs antibiotics for that sore throat? That a Pap smear every year is a good idea? That testosterone will restore your love live? The answers for most people: nope, nope, and nope.
The number of potentially deadly infections picked up by patients in hospitals is down slightly, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But your risk still depends on which hospital you go to, since the rate of infections varies widely, with some hospitals reporting none of them and others reporting many. That's a trend we've also seen in our own hospital Ratings, and it underscores the importance of choosing your hospital with care.
If you recently checked out of a hospital there's a good chance you'll be heading back soon, quite possibly through the emergency room door. Nearly 10 of every 100 hospital patients enter the emergency room within 30 days of their discharge, and another 15 are actually admitted back into the hospital for at least one night.
Last time you had a CT scan did your doctor tell you that it would expose you to radiation? Probably not, according to a study out this week. And even if you were told, you might underestimate the radiation dose, too.
Radiation exposure from a CT scan is about 350 times higher than from an ordinary chest X-ray. Yet some hospitals, including several large, well-known ones, continue to order too many of them, exposing patients to needless risk and expense, according our updated hospital Ratings.
If you think leaving the hospital means you're home for good, think again. About twenty percent of heart attack and pneumonia patients, and a quarter of heart failure patients, find themselves back in the hospital within 30 days, according to our updated hospital Ratings. And our new analysis shows that those rates aren't getting better.
For almost two decades research has suggested that people with diabetes and multiple clogged arteries live longer and have fewer heart attacks if they undergo bypass surgery instead of angioplasty. Yet many of those people continue to be treated by angioplasty, since many doctors remain unaware of the evidence, or unconvinced by it. Now a major new study, out this week in the New England Journal of Medicine should finally settle the matter in bypass's favor.
The news about fungal meningitis from steroid injections has many back pain sufferers wondering if they should now avoid the shots entirely. Our medical experts say no: The deaths and health problems currently being reported are associated with three batches of the drug made by a single pharmacy. And steroid injections sometimes do seem to help relieve debilitating back pain. But our experts also caution that the injections should be used only for specific kinds of back pain, and even then only if a number of simpler methods have been tried first and failed, and if a number of precautions are carefully followed.
Several years ago, Medicare came up with an idea that seemed like a no-brainer: Stop paying hospitals to treat infections that patients pick up while they are in the hospital. That, the agency hoped, would both save money and cut back on preventable infections. Unfortunately, a new study suggests that effort has not yet translated into fewer hospital-acquired infections, or saved much money.
Are you interested in reading the medical notes your doctor writes about you? Some ten thousand patients around the country recently had that chance. And both they, and their doctors, said it led to better care.
Did you or someone you care for get a little extra attention when you checked out of the hospital recently? If so, it's likely because starting today hospitals will be fined if they have too many Medicare patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.
Deadly central-line infections in hospitals are almost entirely preventable, but are far too common. A new report shows that progress in preventing these infections is picking up pace.
You can now get tests to check for clogged arteries or weak bones at your local pharmacy, your gym, the mall, or even your church, often at discount prices. Good idea? No, according to an editorial out yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Our medical experts agree.
The top hospital in the U.S. News Hospital rankings released this week is Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The same institution earned a below average score in our recent safety Ratings. That's actually not as surprising as it might seem, since our Ratings and theirs focus on different aspects of hospital care.
At least 180,000 people a year die in the hospital each year in part because of medical harm, and another 1.4 million are seriously injured by it, according to government projections. Our new safety Ratings might help you avoid the same fate, by allowing you to compare the hospitals in your area.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: