Starting in 2011, more information about the rate of hospital-acquired condition and healthcare associated infections will be available to consumers through the Hospital Compare web site. A joint effort of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), along with the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA), the Hospital Compare site has been available to consumers who want to research the quality of care at hospitals around the United States. The HQA is a public-private collaboration established to promote reporting on hospital quality of care. The HQA consists of organizations that represent consumers, hospitals, doctors and nurses, employers, accrediting organizations, and Federal agencies. The information on this website can be used by any patients needing hospital care.
Hospital Compare currently displays rates for Process of Care measures that show whether or not hospitals provide some of the care that is recommended for patients being treated for a heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, asthma (children only) or patients having surgery. Hospitals voluntarily submit data from medical records about the treatments their patients receive for these conditions. The data include patients with Medicare, those enrolled in Medicare health plans, and those who don’t have Medicare.
CMS will add information on care outcomes and hospital performance regarding patient safety to make it easier for consumers to choose the hospitals they use based on both the quality and cost of the services they offer. Data to be made available in 2011 will include a display of composite measures that summarize both process and outcome quality measures. Process of care measures report how well a hospital provides care and outcome measures reflect the results of the care that beneficiaries received while in the hospital. The measures include assessments of the quality of care for heart attacks, pneumonia and surgical care at each hospital. The agency will also perform research on displays, labels and explanatory language to make sure that consumers understand the information on the website.Dr. Cronin is a Professor of Management in the Information Systems Department at Boston College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Erin Monda