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12 Things I'd Change On Hospital Compare

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2014

10. Don't Obfuscate
For those interested in using the power of spreadsheets to compare hospitals, CMS offers links to portals where one can download dozens of databases for various measures. Often, however, those hospitals are identified only by their Medicare provider number, and not by name, requiring extra steps to link the two.

11. Organize By Symptom
R. Adams Dudley, MD, of UCSF says CMS should consider organizing Hospital Compare with the patient rather than the practitioner in mind.
"Get inside the consumer's head and organize our thinking by symptom" or by patient function, he says.

Perhaps—and this is just an idea—CMS should consider linking to a separate website that shows hospitals for their proficiency in treating major reasons for hospitalization.

12. Advertise and Promote
Most of the people I know who aren't in healthcare have never heard of Hospital Compare. The few that have heard of it have never used it. Maybe part of the reason is that they don't understand why the data is so important.

A lot of money is going into compiling these statistics. Isn't it about time that we spent some resources to get people to use it, and benefit from it?

I've never heard of a CMS campaign to get the word out about this site. I've never heard that CMS has done any research to find out how many people use Hospital Compare, who uses it, how often, for what purpose, what parts of the site they spend the most time on, or how the data may be expanded or improved.

I'm hoping that in the next week, CMS will weigh in on whether these items should be fixed, and whether they can be. I'll let you know as soon as I do.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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4 comments on "12 Things I'd Change On Hospital Compare"


Teresa Ryals, RNIII/Quality Management (1/10/2014 at 7:49 AM)
As someone who has reported data to CMS for our facility since the 10 Starter Measures, I agree with this article. One thing not mentioned is the large number of hospitals that have "too few cases" to report. The majority of the hospitals reporting have fewer than 100 beds, many less than 50. Ours has 21. Curious as to how, if numbers were reported no matter how small, would effect the results.

Michael Cylkowski (1/9/2014 at 5:34 PM)
Nice article Cheryl. I would like to see more actual outcomes data like the kind Walmart looks at to determine their Centers of Excellence. That would be meaningful.

Leah Binder (1/9/2014 at 5:15 PM)
A superb analysis of the politically-motivated shortcomings of Hospital Compare.