CalHospitalCompare.org: Hospital Report Card Simplifies Process of Finding Quality Care
Site provides easy-to-use resource for hospital performance ratings; establishes a single standard for reporting data
A new Web site launched today, CalHospitalCompare.org, allows Californians to compare the performance of more than 200 hospitals statewide on a variety of useful quality measures from maternity services to cardiac treatment.
“Consumers need reliable, relevant information to help them make health care decisions for themselves and their families,” said Mark D. Smith, M.D., M.B.A., president and chief executive officer of the California HealthCare Foundation, which funded development of the new site. “CalHospitalCompare provides hospital performance ratings in an easy-to-read, understandable format.”
Fifteen states, including Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas, have developed hospital report cards in response to demands from the public and regulators for more transparency about health care quality, although none are as comprehensive as CalHospitalCompare. The site offers exclusive information on hospital performance, including measures on patient experience that are not included in other sites. The site was developed with input from consumer focus groups to ensure a clear, easy-to-understand format.
The free service allows consumers to search for hospitals by location, name, or medical condition. Hospitals are rated on 50 performance indicators, including patient satisfaction measures and specific conditions, such as heart disease, maternity, and pneumonia.
CalHospitalCompare is the result of a two-year collaboration by the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce (CHART), whose members include hospitals, health plans, doctors and nurses, consumer groups, employers, and the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF). The data collection and analysis was performed by the University of California, San Francisco’s Institute for Health Policy Studies.
“This collaboration offers a powerful example of how organizations with divergent interests can cooperate to develop a single standard for public reporting, creating the health care transparency that regulators and the public are demanding,” said Bruce Spurlock, M.D., chair of the CHART committee. “The standardized measures of hospital performance are important not only for consumers, but also for the hospitals themselves to use as benchmarks for quality improvement.”
“The CalHospitalCompare data are ‘risk-adjusted’ to allow for fair comparisons of hospitals, even though they have different patient populations,” said R. Adams Dudley, M.D., M.B.A., an associate professor of medicine and health policy at UCSF who directed the project. “California hospitals have shown their commitment to accountability with this initiative. We hope this process can be used as a model for additional comprehensive reporting tools in the future.”
Beyond consumers, CalHospitalCompare is also intended to benefit health care organizations. The report card provides health plans with relevant information to make decisions about which hospitals to include in their networks and offers hospitals reliable data to help improve the quality of care at their facilities. CalHospitalCompare can also benefit physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals who may use the data to make referral decisions.
CalHospitalCompare will be updated regularly with new measures to enhance the consumer experience. Future enhancements will include a Spanish-language version and an expanding set of performance measures; specifically, pediatric and intensive care measures will be added later this year.
The California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce (CHART) was established in 2004 to develop a statewide hospital performance reporting system using a collaborative process. CHART brings together relevant stakeholders in California health care to select key aspects of hospital performance to measure and report; to achieve consensus about a uniform, scientifically valid approach to measurement for all California hospitals; to provide hospitals and clinicians with benchmarking data on which to base quality improvement efforts; and to report the performance of individual California hospitals to consumers, purchasers, and health plans.
About the California Health Care Foundation
The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.