California is the only state that does not collect physician identifiers on hospital discharge data. Adding this data would give a more complete picture of health care quality.
Hospital discharge databases allow states to track the services of licensed acute care hospitals. Beyond surveillance, these databases contain clinical care elements for patients that span all payer types, making them ideal sources from which to produce quality report cards for consumers. However, of 48 states with discharge data reporting, California is the only one that does not collect physician identifying information and is therefore unable to produce physician-level quality reports from this data set.
In a 2010 report commissioned by CHCF, the National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO) underscored that discharge data, provided by hospitals to state health entities, could also be used to report on the quality of care and procedural volume of attending or operating physicians during hospital encounters.
In a 2013 report also funded by CHCF, the RAND Corporation explored issues associated with requiring physician identifiers in the California hospital discharge data set and the potential use of physician-identified data by the state and others.
Key findings include:
The NAHDO and RAND reports are available on their respective sites through the External Links below.