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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Quality Data: Hospital Compare
10/12/2009

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

These days, all you need to access a wealth of information about the quality of health care services at your local hospital is time and Internet access. But you may find that the more time you spend searching, the more conflicting information you will find, because no two quality studies are the same.

Perhaps the most prominent online resource for hospital quality data is HospitalCompare.hhs.gov, a Web site provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that allows consumers to compare up to three hospitals side-by-side.

Hospital Compare provides process-of-care measures and outcome-of-care measures, as well as patient experience surveys. Process-of-care measures include things such as the percentage of heart attack patients given aspirin on arrival. Outcome-of-care measures include mortality rates for heart failure or pneumonia patients at a given hospital.

One important thing to remember about Hospital Compare is that the data reported on the site is at least a year old. While consumers use sites like Hospital Compare to get information, hospitals use them to benchmark and improve. When we identify a problem area, we are often able to improve in a short period of time, but those improvements will not be reflected in quality data reports until much later.

Web sites like Hospital Compare are designed to provide consumers a starting point to help you talk with your physician or hospital about how best to get the care you need.

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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