On paper, 21 states currently have laws that require hospitals to monitor surgical site infections and publish the data. However, of these 21 states, only 8 actually make the data available to the public.
Even among the hospitals that actually manage to put up the data, the reports only involve 10 procedures. You don't have to be an Arizona medical malpractice attorney to know that that there is a huge gap between the laws requiring states to monitor and report infection data, and the manner in which hospitals actually implement the laws.
According to the study that has just been published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality, there are wide variations in the number of surgical procedures that are tracked. For instance, some states include infection data for 7 different types of procedures, and others include infection data for just 3 types of procedures. That means that there are large areas of patient safety data that are currently not being revealed to the public.
Hospitals may choose to conceal the poorly performing department in their facility. In most hospitals, there's one department that performs below par, and has high readmission rates. Hospitals would rather not reveal all data, because it would shock patients to find out how bad the readmission rates in these departments are. That is why you find such under reporting of infection data.
The federal administration is to blame in part for the blatant under reporting of data. The federal administration has not established any reporting standards for hospitals that would lay down the kind of data that has to be revealed. In fact, the healthcare industry has lobbied heavily against any federal standards for reporting data.
Incomplete information may not be sufficient to inform patients, and make them aware of a hospital’s infection prevention and safety record. For the data to be user-friendly, it must include more numbers of procedures.