Patients entering hospitals with heart attacks in states with mandatory public reporting are less likely to receive angioplasties to fix heart blockages than patients in states without public reporting, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health. The patients most affected were those considered “high-risk,” that is, those who were extremely sick when they arrived at the hospital. It is the first study to look at public reporting for these interventions on a national level. The study appears in the October 10, 2012 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Making performance data available to patients is very important. It helps them choose the best health care,” said Karen Joynt, instructor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at HSPH and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “However, the results of our study make us wonder if we’re doing public reporting as well as we could be.”