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It's Judgment Day for Hospital Websites

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 22, 2013

This year, URAC and The Leapfrog Group are revamping their criteria. Instead of requiring thresholds, they will evaluate based on the applications they receive, and disclose their methodology. A panel of judges who also serve as advisers for those groups will review the submittals and validate claims.

Hospitals may apply for the award if they have a "consumer-facing website," have completed the free and voluntary 2013 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, (about 1,300 hospitals do so) and publically report quality data from their Joint Commission accreditation survey, Medicare's Hospital Compare ratings, their own state's reporting results, or the Leapfrog survey data.
There is no charge to apply or to post an award, if a hospital's website is a winner.

The award criteria factors nearly 50 measures in five categories:

1. Transparency

  • Does the website display the most recent safety and quality data, and give the dates of performance?
  • Can visitors compare your hospital's data with other hospitals in the state or nation?
  • Are there definitions or links to explain the information that's displayed?
  • Does the data shown have links to the source?

2. Design

  • Does the site have easily navigated layout with working and recognizable links?
  • Is the website available in several languages?
  • Can the font size be adjusted and can the content be printed?
  • Is advertisement labeled, to distinguish it from other content?
  • When data tables are displayed, are row and column headers identified?
  • Is there an explicit "About Us" or "History" section containing information about the facility, the staff and services?
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3 comments on "It's Judgment Day for Hospital Websites"


Daniel Fell (10/9/2013 at 10:51 AM)
The Leapfrog Group has done some great work on patient safety and reducing medical errors in my opinion but this rating program could be greatly improved. Hardly any of the criteria really relate to the quality of hospital quality data itself. It's more of a general web site rating (of which there are several out there including the e-Healthcare Leadership Awards that I help judge every year). Where are the specifics regarding sources of data, use of internal quality data, consumer friendly explanations of quality metrics, physician level data, use of infographics, etc.? Less than 20% of the criteria even deal with the quality data. That said, we've been tracking healthcare ratings and rankings trends for the last decade and it's surprising ow slow hospitals have been to push this content out to referral sources and patients. So kudos to Leapfrog for drawing more attention to the issue.

Laurie (8/27/2013 at 4:28 PM)
It's no surprise that they are under review. Technology helps patients better educate themselves so they can make better healthcare choices. I see a lot of providers who are embracing technology in their practice with cloud PACS are also putting the effort into updating their website and other online identities where they could be held liable.

Danny Long (8/22/2013 at 3:14 PM)
Oh my Cheryl Clark, I so love your get to the point articles! One, if not my favorite writers! Danny and Shelly :-) :-)