Kaiser Health News / The Boston Globe, July 18, 2013

Star wars may be coming to a hospital near you. Medicare is considering assigning stars or some other easily understood symbol to hospitals so patients can more easily compare the quality of care at various institutions. The ratings would appear on Medicare's Hospital Compare website and be based on many of the 100 quality measures the agency already publishes. The proposal comes as Medicare confronts a paradox: Although the number of ways to measure hospital performance is increasing, those factors are becoming harder for patients to digest. Hospital Compare publishes a wide variety of details about medical centers, including death rates, patient views about how well doctors communicated, infection rates for colon surgery and hysterectomies, emergency room efficiency and overuse of CT scans.
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