How international data-sharing can improve hospital outcomes

A new UK hospital initiative seeks to improve patient outcomes through international data-sharing, according to an article in the Guardian.

The Global Comparators project, started by Dr. Foster Intelligence, a U.K. healthcare information firm, shares data among more than 40 hospitals from the U.S., to western Europe and Australia. The project enables participants to take a closer look at caseloads similar to their own in other countries, on both a macro and patient level, according to the article. 

Participants have access to data on length of stay, mortality, complication and readmission rates, and mortality for 259 clinical diagnoses and 38 clinical procedure groups. It is the initiative to share data on cost and quality metrics on a global scale, according to the Guardian.

For example, the article states, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) in the U.K. was able to compare its data on heart attack patients to that of Yale New Haven Hospital. As a result, UHCW decided to have its ambulance crews alert the cardiology team as soon as they diagnosed a heart attack, rather than wait until they approached the hospital. Since adopting this policy, UHCW has seen a 25 percent reduction in mortality for emergency patients.

A comparison of participating hospital data shows U.S. hospitals have had the lowest in-hospital mortality rates due in part to shorter patient stays. U.S. hospitals also lead in readmissions, with 9.4 percent, compared to only 6.6 percent in England and 4.9 in hospitals in other nations.

The U.S. has already implemented data-sharing on a smaller scale. In January, UnitedHealth and Mayo Clinic agreed to a data-sharing initiative in which researchers analyzed UnitedHealth's insurance claims and Mayo Clinic's patient records to assess the most effective procedures and treatments for common health conditions, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the Guardian article
- check out the comparison site