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December 28, 2012
Each year, nearly 300,000 people have one or both hips replaced. Most of the time the results are dramatically for the better, allowing patients to cast off pain and immobility. About one in 15 patients, however, suffers complications that can be severe, among them infection, nerve damage, blood clots, and failure of the implanted artificial joint, according to a 2010 report in the American Journal of Orthopedics. And these problems can be prevented. Some hospitals have consistently shorter stays, fewer complications and readmissions, and lower mortality than others do.
Data tell the story; data that are recent and decent can help patients make informed choices about where to get surgery. Yet few patients can look at these important statistics. Few hospitals reveal them, and most states don't publish hospital-specific data, often blaming tight budgets and pushback from local hospitals and doctors.