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RWJ Launches Healthcare Quality Data Website

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 29, 2011

To better prepare hospitals and doctors for the scrutiny they will get from public reporting in the next few years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Tuesday launched a website that compiles state, federal, hospital and health plan quality data from across the country: 224 separate sites and growing.

The foundation says the database is the "nation's most comprehensive online directory for patients (and others) to find reliable information on the quality of healthcare provided by physicians and hospitals in their communities."

"All of this information is designed to help everyone get ready for a time when we're much more focused on tilting the system for delivering high value, rather than high volume, care, which is what we're paying for right now. That's what this website is all about," Michael Painter, MD, the foundation's senior program officer said in a telephone interview.

Painter added that multiple sites contain quality performance measures on physicians, hospitals, and ambulatory care services in each state, and national comparative data.

"The nice thing is that if you live in one of these states, you may not be aware of all these information resources that are available to you."

Painter added, "Nobody, including our hardworking and fantastic healthcare workforce, wants to be rated and have this displayed publicly. But we all know we have quality variation and safety problems, and we all know that keeping that in the dark and in secret isn't working for us."

For example, he pointed to Wisconsin, which lists 13 separate reports, seven for hospitals and four for physicians. California has 14 separate websites, some operated by the California Healthcare Foundation which list hospital procedure costs, while others are operated by health plans such as BlueShield of California or HealthNet. 

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