Improving the Hospital Compare website

HealthLeaders’ Cheryl Clark has done a commendable job in identifying 12 changes she’d like to see on Hospital Compare, the quality reporting website run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. You should read the article for the details.

I don’t disagree with any of the recommendations, but there are four in particular that I’d like to highlight. The recommendation #’s and bolded titles are from the article.

  • #1 Lake Wobegon Syndrome. Something is wrong when 95% or more of the hospitals are listed as average with very, very few in the below or above average category. But this does present an opportunity to really call out the outliers for special treatment or shunning. My hope is that we’ll get to finer gradations as the quality of the data increases.
  • #2 Report by Bricks and Mortar. Too many facilities are allowed to be grouped under one identifier, which tends to hide both good and bad performers. It’s related to issue #1 above.
  • #3 Military Hospitals and the VA. Very little information is presented for many federal hospitals. Actually, we should expect them to report more than the private sector since they are accountable to the taxpayer. And they should set the example for the rest of the system.
  • #7 Stop Avoiding Children. Hospital Compare is Medicare-centric. That’s an issue for the non-Medicare population as a whole, but especially for pediatrics. This is a more difficult hole to fill.

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By David E. Williams of the Health Business Group.

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