Hospital Care the Target of Online Comparison Tool
A new Web site launched on Tuesday allows the public to compare more than 200 California hospitals on more than 50 performance measures, including maternity care, cardiac treatment and patient satisfaction, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/6).
Users can search a hospital by Zip code, city, county, name or medical condition. Up to five hospitals can be compared side-by-side (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 3/6).
The reporting system was developed by the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce, a coalition of:
- Health plans;
- Consumer groups;
- Government agencies;
- Consumers; and
- Businesses organizations (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 3/6).
The hospitals were given a score ranging from "poor" to "superior."
Bruce Spurlock, chair of the task force committee, said that patient satisfaction was measured through surveys sent to patients randomly chosen by hospitals (Hagedorn, Bakersfield Californian, 3/5).
The site represents 70% of all hospital admissions in California. The project was funded by $3 million from the California HealthCare Foundation, $3 million from health plans and about $8 million in time and resources by participating hospitals (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/6).
Dr. Adams Dudley, project director for the UCSF facility, said, "There is no other Web site ... that combines data from this many sources."
By comparison, CMS' online comparison tool evaluates hospitals using 20 criteria. About 4,200 hospitals are included in the CMS project (Sacramento Bee, 3/6).
Data will be updated quarterly, and developers said they plan to include more timely data reporting on additional procedures and measures, such as risk-adjusted surgical outcome data, cancer care and cost comparisons (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/6).
State and local hospital officials noted that the current data is at least one year old and say it might not reflect changes in recent months, according to the Bee (Sacramento Bee, 3/6).
Maribeth Shannon of CHCF said many public hospitals did not participate because they could not afford to pay employees to collect data (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/5).
Children's hospitals were excluded in the launch, but will have the opportunity to participate next year. Mortality data will be added in the next 12 to 18 months (Oakland Tribune, 3/6).
CHCF plans to make the data available in Spanish and increase the number of performance measures. Pediatric care and intensive care quality measures will be added by the end of this year (Welly, Santa Maria Times, 3/6).
The California HealthCare Foundation is the publisher of California Healthline.