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Patients' View of Hospital Care Enriches Information Available on Consumer Web Site
Date:3/28/2008

Public-private partnership adds new data to help patients make care

decisions

WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, information about patients' view of their hospital care will be available for consumers on the Hospital Quality Alliance's (HQA) public Web site, Hospital Compare (http://www.HospitalCompare.hhs.gov). These new data, which allow for comparisons among hospitals, reflect patients' insights about key aspects of hospital care, regardless of their condition or diagnosis.

Known as HCAHPS (for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), this new information joins existing data on Hospital Compare which allows consumers to see how often hospitals provide important treatments for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical patients. The information also allows people to find out how heart attack and heart failure patients fared 30 days after being admitted to a hospital, including time spent outside the hospital after being discharged. The HCAHPS data were collected through surveys given to patients after they left the hospital and provide a nationally standardized look at routine hospital care.

The new patient survey includes 27 questions which will be grouped into ten categories. They are:

-- Communication with nurses

-- Communication with doctors

-- Responsiveness of staff

-- Pain management

-- Communication about medication

-- Cleanliness of hospital

-- Quietness of hospital

-- Discharge information

-- Overall rating

-- Willingness to recommend

Data from the roughly 2,500 hospitals that have nine months of information will appear on the Hospital Compare Web site. This information will be updated quarterly and data from most of the nation's hospitals will appear by the end of the year.

The HQA is a national public-private collaboration of hospital groups, consumer representatives, physician and nursing organizations, employers and payers, oversight organizations and government agencies dedicated to making useful and understandable information about hospital quality available to the public and to helping hospitals use the information in their quality improvement efforts. The addition of these new data reflects the HQA's continuing commitment, since 2002, to publicly report hospital quality of care information to help patients and consumers make more informed decisions about hospital care.

About Hospital Compare

Hospital Compare is the result of the cooperation of members of the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA), a landmark public-private partnership of hospitals, government agencies, quality experts, purchasers, consumer groups and other health care organizations. These organizations have joined together to develop a shared national strategy for hospital quality measurement and are committed to advancing quality of care. The HQA created the site -- http://www.HospitalCompare.hhs.gov -- to provide quality of care information to the public in a consistent, unified way. For more information about the HQA and its partners, please visit http://www.hospitalqualityalliance.org.

What members of the Hospital Quality Alliance are saying about HCAHPS:

John Rother, AARP Policy Director:

"AARP welcomes the publication of the first survey results from HCAHPS. We know that our members are very interested in other patients' experience with hospital care, and we will encourage them to use HCAHPS and other information on Hospital Compare when they make health care decisions. We expect hospitals will use this feedback from their patients to engage in ongoing quality improvement, and we also hope physicians and health plans will consider it when they make decisions about hospital referrals and contracting."

Gerry Shea, Assistant to the President for Governmental Affairs of the AFL-CIO:

"HCAHPS is information from patients for patients, based on actual experiences in hospitals. The survey results broaden our look at hospital quality, especially when taken together with other information already available on Hospital Compare. This will help patients and families better navigate today's complex health care system and is an important step in making valuable information about hospital quality more accessible to the public."

Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association:

"HCAHPS harnesses the power of thousands of patients' opinions and experiences of their hospital stay to create a snapshot of care for anyone with access to a computer. This is an important step in giving patients helpful information they can use when making important decisions about their care. Ultimately, this tool benefits everyone as it helps consumers and patients find out how often a hospital provides certain aspects of care while allowing hospitals to focus care improvement efforts on areas where patients feel it is most needed."

Linda J. Stierle, MSN, RN, CNAA, BC, CEO of the American Nurses Association:

"As nurses, we are dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care. The HCAHPS survey will provide an invaluable resource to patients seeking information on patient experiences from hospital to hospital. These data will serve as a much needed standardized means for measuring patients' perception of care quality and ultimately improve health care delivery."

Robert Dickler, Senior Vice President of the Association of American Medical Colleges Division of Health Care Affairs:

"The Association of American Medical Colleges is pleased that data from HCAHPS has been added to the portfolio of measures being reported on Hospital Compare. This is an important step for the hospital community, which has worked through the Hospital Quality Alliance to address patient-centered care and to provide information to consumers that will help them make decisions about their hospital care."

Peter V. Lee, Co-Chair, Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project:

"The release on Hospital Compare of patient experience survey results for the nation's hospitals is a historic advance in giving consumers valid, nationally consistent information to make better choices. In addition, it reflects the growing momentum that Medicare is fostering to create a health care system that is measuring performance, making public reports and rewarding health care providers for improving and delivering high quality, cost-effective care."

Chip Kahn, President of the Federation of American Hospitals:

"The new HCAHPS data may become the most helpful aspect of the Hospital Compare Website because it is easily understandable and reflects the very tangible experience of patients. HCAHPS, together with the existing Hospital Compare clinical data, will enable better decision-making by

patients and their families."

Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, President, The Joint Commission:

"Patients are the focus of quality efforts, and HCAHPS is a milestone in providing a national standardized set of data on patient perceptions of their hospital care. HCAHPS complements today's measures on clinical quality by offering a new dimension of information available to patients to help them make informed comparisons about the quality of services and care that hospitals provide."

Larry S. Gage, President of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems:

"I applaud the release of these data and arming consumers with information to aid in their decision making with their health care providers. This data will also further assist hospitals in their ongoing quest to improve patient care."

Andrew Webber, President and CEO of the National Business Coalition on Health:

"The public release of Hospital Compare data is a good example of what can be done to empower health care consumers through public/private partnerships. We encourage employers to use the Hospital Compare data in the decision-making tools they provide for their employees, so that they will have the information they need to choose better hospitals when they need care for themselves or their families."

Contact: Elizabeth Lietz, AHA

(202) 626-2284

Richard Coorsh, FAH

(202) 624-1527

Nicole Buckley, AAMC

(202) 828-0041


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SOURCE Hospital Quality Alliance
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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