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Scorekeeping

Edward Prewitt, for HealthLeaders Media, August 13, 2014
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This article appears in the July/August 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

What's your score? That question piques curiosity and creates competition like few others, as this issue's cover story details. U.S. News & World Report, Consumer Reports, Healthgrades, and many other organizations have calculated hospitals' scores for all to see. The varying methodologies and final scores raise hackles, as does the policy of some ratings organizations of charging a fee for hospitals to publicize the outcomes.

Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder admits the limits of existing data sources such as the federal Hospital Compare database—and points out that hospitals can counteract that by publicly reporting more. She is an articulate defender of the power of data to "shine a light on hospital safety," as she told HealthLeaders Senior Editor Jacqueline Fellows. Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago is one organization that has used Leapfrog ratings to get better. President and CEO José R. Sánchez employed the hospital's F score in 2011 as a rallying point for patient safety.

Yet "patients don't use these data to choose doctors or hospitals," says Mark Chassin, MD, president and CEO of The Joint Commission, the accreditor for healthcare organizations. That may change as consumers bear more of the cost of their healthcare, but a PwC Health Research Institute study in 2013 found that only 21% chose a doctor with publicly available evaluations, and only 16% used such data to choose a hospital. Part of the problem was conflicting and confusing information.

So what's your scorecard? That is, what does your organization track internally—and what should it track? The HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Report on patient experience (page 30) shows that HCAHPS scores are the method most used (by 79% of respondents) to measure the success of patient experience efforts. HCAHPS gets tracked because it's tied to federal reimbursements, of course. Yet members of the HealthLeaders Media Council—7,200 leaders who help with our research—have told us that HCAHPS is an inadequate measure of the patient experience and patient satisfaction.

Several health systems have created their own internal scorecards, which incorporate HCAHPS scores, Hospital Compare data, and much, much more. Cleveland Clinic produces quality reports and outcomes books for each of its 11 hospitals. Texas Health Resources' new internal quality report incorporates 300 measures on 16 indicators. Norton Healthcare's quality report has grown from 200 indicators to approximately 800 today. Says Dan Varga, MD, chief clinical officer and senior executive vice president at THR, "It is an important thing to tell the community how we perform, but the other big, big audience is us."


This article appears in the July/August 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.


Edward Prewitt is the Editorial Director of HealthLeaders Media.
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