Health Care Quality Website Gives Consumers New Tools to Compare Providers
(Jan 30, 2013) YourHealthMatters.org the Tri-state’s only local, non-profit resource for objective ratings on health care providers, is now providing quality ratings for area hospitals. The reports measure 16 elements contributing to patient experience and effectiveness at 23 local hospitals. Website visitors can view individual reports or compare several hospitals at a time. The hospital reports are part of a major upgrade to the YourHealthMatters.org website which previously reported only on the performance of primary care physicians.
Now, visitors to the website can customize their searches to prioritize the selection criteria most important to them. Hospitals are searchable by name, location and insurance accepted. Primary care providers can be selected by the same criteria and also by hours or operation, languages spoken, or care recognition programs, including Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition. Mapping technology makes it easy to find health care providers near work or home. In addition, the website has a fresh new look and feel.
“Our customers told us that they want more information about health care quality from a trusted resource, particularly now that the prevalence of high deductible health plans means patients pay more out of pocket when they need care,” said Judy Hirsh, Director of Consumer Strategy and Programs at the Health Collaborative.
YourHealthMatters.org compiled the hospital ratings using data hospitals are required to report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). CMS has made this data public for a number of years, but the bulky reports are hard for most people to navigate. The new display was designed to be consumer friendly and easy to understand.
YourHealthMatters.org began by asking consumers what aspects of hospital quality were most important to them. We then selected reports from the CMS data and overall categories to reflect what consumers asked to see. We also translated medical speak into plain English, provided explanations, and displayed the results in an easy to read format.
Consumers wanted lots of information about the patient experience, so categories include communication with doctors and staff, responsiveness, pain management, quietness and even cleanliness. Effectiveness ratings look at the most common reasons for hospitalization including surgical care, pneumonia, heart attack/chest pain and heart failure plus readmission rates. Site visitors will see scores for each local hospital as well as the national average of all hospitals. This can help better inform consumers about a hospital their doctor recommends or help them in selecting a hospital.
The website is more than a rating tool. It includes resources to empower patients and caregivers who want to participate more fully in their care. There are easy to use checklists for before, during and after a hospital stay. The primary care provider section of the website contains tips and lists for getting the most out of a doctor visit. It is particularly useful for patients managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
“The Health Collaborative made a commitment to be a neutral and trusted consumer resource for information about health care quality,” said Craig Brammer, CEO of the Health Collaborative. “We are pleased to be able to share this data with the consumers who need it to make good health care choices, but we are also asking health care providers to focus on these quality measures and engage in a healthy competition for superiority and excellence.”
YourHealthMatters.org is a consumer service product of the Health Collaborative. It is supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Aligning Forces for Quality and Bethesda, Inc.
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