Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Website: How Does Your Hospital Rate?

Finally, Ohio has come out of the stone age. A new website launched by The Ohio Department Of Health will allow Ohioans to compare hospitals on a whole host of performance measures. For example, you can research hospitals' performance on a number of pateint safety measures like anesthesia complications, bed sores, and number of foreign objects left in patients during a procedure, just to name a few.

This is part of a nationwide movement to make a hospital's performance criteria transparent. Hospitals are required to submit data every six months or face a fine.

Of course, this data is dependent upon a hospital's willingness to keep accurate statistics and voluntarily report outcomes that might not necessarily paint them in a good light. But it is a vast improvement over data that Ohio consumers have had access to before--which is nothing.

Hospitals spend millions on PR ad campaigns touting the quality of care they provide. Now, at least, there is some criteria to measure against all the hype and feel good TV and radio commercials.

By the way, in 2008 The Cleveland Clinic left four foreign objects in patients during surgery. This doesn't make them a bad hospital--in fact, just the opposite is true. But it does show that even hospitals that provide "world class care" are capable of making preventable medical mistakes.

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