Hospital Comparison Tool to Provide a Better Care Picture

July 15, 2010

The tool is just part of the new HHS site and provides information about the quality of care in outpatient and emergency departments.

New information about the quality of care available in outpatient and emergency departments, including how well hospitals treat patients with heart attacks and protect outpatients from surgical infections, was added to the new HHS website, HealthCare.gov.

The Hospital Compare site now includes new 30-day mortality figures and three-year hospital readmission rates drawn from 2006-09 data.

“The more information consumers and patients have, the better the options and choices are for them when it comes to their health care,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The updated data show that although 30-day rates for heart attack have decreased by 0.4% from the 2005-08 rates (falling from 16.6% to 16.2%), mortality rates for heart failure and pneumonia readmissions have remained steady at 11.2% and 11.6%, respectively. Readmissions rates for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia have remained high, at 24.7% for heart failure and 18.3% for pneumonia.

Readmission rates were highest for hospitals in the East and lowest for those in the West. The Hospital Compare site now also includes data on 11 outpatient measures that target EDs and observation services, including measures related to treating patients with chest pain and to antibiotic administration on the day of surgery to prevent surgical infections.

Hospital Compare also includes new measures that show whether outpatients who are treated for suspected heart attacks receive therapies that are proven to reduce mortality—such as an aspirin—at arrival, and how well outpatient surgical patients are protected from infections.

“Adding outpatient quality measures to Hospital Compare will give consumers a more complete picture of the quality of care available at local hospitals,” said Barry M. Straube, M.D., CMS chief medical officer and director of the Agency’s Office of Clinical Standards & Quality. “In particular, the heart attack and surgical care outpatient measures can be viewed alongside of the inpatient data we already report for these conditions, thus providing a comprehensive look at what facilities in your area are doing to provide high-quality, high-value care.”

The new comparison tool includes 30-day mortality figures and three-year hospital readmission rates, taken from 2006-2009 data.