The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has just published a Web site that allows citizens to compare patient satisfaction with various hospitals. The site was described in a Dallas Morning News article today. Here are excerpts:
For the first time, the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid posted online information (at hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) about patients’ satisfaction with their care at particular hospitals. Most hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are included.
The information about hospital staff responsiveness, pain management, cleanliness, communication about taking medications and what to expect after discharge came from a 27-question survey that more than 2,500 hospitals around the country gave to adults sent home between October 2006 and last June.
The goal was for each hospital to survey at least 300 patients, though some surveyed many more, said Herb Kuhn, the acting deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The patient data joins other information already available on the site comparing how hospitals perform on various treatments for heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgery.
“The … data provides just one of many perspectives that a consumer can use when they assess with their physician what the right hospital is for their care,” said Steven Campanini, spokesman for Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp.
“Many factors go into selecting a hospital.”
American Hospital Association president Rich Umbdenstock hailed the emergence of “a much more balanced scorecard for the public.”
He said it will help hospitals improve care and customer service.
In the health care industry, Mr. Leavitt said, there’s no way for consumers to compare prices and judge who’s good.
Though banks and airlines have adopted standard measurements for consumers to use, together with easy-to-use Web sites, health care providers have not, he said.
The survey and the other online information announced Friday are a step toward giving consumers the same kind of measurement for the health care industry, he said.