How Does Your Hospital Measure Up?

A new website enables consumers to compare data on patient safety practices used by hospitals in nine states.

Through a new website launched by the Commonwealth Fund, consumers can now access comparative data on patient safety and hospital quality for nine US states. The site—WhyNotTheBest.org—uses new measures developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to provide data on inpatient mortality for conditions such as pneumonia, inpatient myocardial infarction, and stroke.

The site includes information from all payers—Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers—submitted by hospitals based in Arizona, Florida, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.

According to an online report, the patient safety indicators reflect quality of care for adults cared for in hospitals and focus on potentially avoidable complications and medical mistakes. The inpatient quality indicators also reflect quality of care for adults inside the hospital setting.

"What makes this data so useful is that it includes all payers and is therefore a much more accurate measure of an organization's performance," said Anne-Marie Audet, MD, vice president for health systems quality and efficiency at The Commonwealth Fund, in a statement. "It will also be posted close to the time care is delivered, allowing the information to be used quickly to take action on areas that need improvement."

The new site includes performance data reported publicly on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Web site, Hospital Compare, for more than 4,500 institutions in the US. Specifically, it includes:

  • 28 Hospital Quality Alliance measures that report how often hospitals delivered recommended care processes in the following four areas: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care improvement
  • 10 measures from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey
  • Readmission rates, which includes patients who return to a hospital within 30 days of discharge from a previous hospital stay for heart attack, heart failure, or pneumonia
  • Mortality rates, which take into account deaths within 30 days from all causes after an initial hospitalization with a principal diagnosis of heart attack, heart failure, or pneumonia
  • Medicare reimbursement rates for patients whose primary diagnosis was heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia

To create a report, users can type the name of a hospital, and choose from a list of benchmarks that includes national and state averages (top 1%, 10%, or 25%), hospital referral region, health system, and facility type. Information is then made available as to how the facility performed in terms overall recommended care, or treatment specific to heart attack, heart failure care, pneumonia, or surgery.

The site also offers several improvement tools, including the following:

  • AMI and Heart Failure Contraindications Pocket Card
  • Central Line Insertion Care Team Checklist
  • Chart Stickers for Surgery Patients
  • Checklist for Non-Verbal Pain Indicators
  • Discharge Patient Education Tool
  • Hospital-Acquired Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Incidence Calculator
  • Improving Treatment Decisions for Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia

For more information, visit WhyNotTheBest.org.

Consumers can now access a great deal of information about hospitals, including how facilities within a certain region compare. Do you think this transparency will lead to improvements in the safety and quality of care being offered?