RWJ Launches Healthcare Quality Data Website

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , June 29, 2011

California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development data, the largest hospital outcome archive in the nation, is listed as well, with two websites, one showing surgical mortality and another showing hospital charges.

"This is a picture of the facts as they are today," he said.

Painter said that the foundation also hopes the website will put subtle pressure on institutions in states that now offer little comparative information to improve the amount and quality of the information on healthcare they disclose.

"There's a lot of variation in what states report," he noted. "For example, you can look at Mississippi and see one report on whether physicians licensed to practice in the state have performance scores that are lower, higher or at the community average. "But there's nothing for hospitals."

Likewise for the entire state of Texas, there are only three sets of data, three for hospitals but nothing for physicians. Florida, one of the largest states in the nation, has only two.

The site also offers links to national databases, such as the Dartmouth Atlas, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' HospitalCompare and The Leapfrog Group.

Some of the data sets are more "wonkish," with detailed information that only healthcare data specialists would understand. While other sites are more consumer friendly, he said.

The foundation hopes that consumers, who have not up to now been known to use such websites to make choices about their healthcare providers, will begin to do so, Painter said.  It might help, for example, a patient with diabetes who looks at some of these measures say to him or herself, "I see these scores, but I'm not getting the kind of care that these measures say I should have. Why not?"

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