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CalHospitalCompare.org: Online Report Card Simplifies the Search for Quality Hospital Care

Some hospitals provide better care than others. CalHospitalCompare.org rates California facilities on clinical quality, patient experience, and patient safety, helping consumers clarify their options.

Note: The CalHospitalCompare.org website was merged into CalQualityCare.org in January 2014.

In California, as in other states, the quality of inpatient care varies considerably from hospital to hospital and even within the same institution. To provide information about hospital care, various government and private entities over the years have undertaken initiatives to measure and report on quality indicators. The resulting array of data has been confusing to patients and unnecessarily difficult for the hospitals to provide.

To bring order to hospital quality data collection and dissemination, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) supported a diverse group of stakeholders to form the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce (CHART) in 2004. Their goal was to develop a standardized report card on hospital quality in the state.

In March 2007 as a result of that work, CHCF, in partnership with the University of California at San Francisco and CHART, launched CalHospitalCompare.org, a comprehensive and continually updated website. The report card tracks dozens of hospital performance measures and serves as a one-stop shop combining quality information from many sources. It follows a single, standardized protocol for reporting data, helps hospitals improve their outcomes by focusing on measures for common conditions where performance varies, and equitably accounts for differing patient mix and morbidity.

A fact sheet on the CHART collaboration and the impact of CalHospitalCompare.org on California hospital quality, titled CalHospitalCompare.org Enables Easy Comparison of Inpatient Care, is available under Document Downloads.

Over the years, more than 250 California hospitals — representing 86% of the average daily acute hospital census in the state — have participated in the voluntary reporting program. Many health plans and hospitals have adopted CHART's methodology as their own rating system and use it to support their pay-for-performance programs. Many participating hospitals, which receive additional detailed CHART data on their performance beyond what is reported publicly, have seen demonstrated quality improvements. For example, hospitals that have been in CHART since its launch provide the appropriate heart failure diagnoses and treatments 85% of the time, while those that have never joined do so only 75% of the time. Likewise, pneumonia prevention measures are provided 78% of the time at CHART hospitals compared to only 59% of the time in non-CHART hospitals.

The free service, available in English and Spanish, allows consumers to search for hospitals by location, name, or medical condition. Hospitals are rated on patient satisfaction measures and specific conditions, such as heart disease, maternity, and pneumonia. The website was developed with input from consumer focus groups to ensure a clear, easy-to-understand format. CalHospitalCompare.org is updated quarterly with the most recent data, and new measures are added as they become available.

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