Understanding Hospital Quality Reports
the right hospital for you is a very personal decision and may be based on a combination
of factors, including learning more about hospital quality and safety.
Understanding hospital quality reports is one of several ways you can learn
more about how
Pennsylvania hospitals are working to improve care.
Every hospital is different, just as every region across the state is
different. Hospitals focus on how to best meet the health care needs in their
community, which means that quality and safety initiatives may be different
from hospital to hospital.
In addition, a growing number of government and private organizations
are attempting to measure the quality and safety of hospitals and are issuing
quality reports, or “report cards” on hospital quality and safety.
reports may be helpful in choosing a hospital, but the reports also may provide
conflicting information and different ratings for the same hospital.
Understanding how to use quality reports and report cards, along with
the facts behind how the reports were developed, is important to finding the
right hospital for you.
According to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, there are three questions you should ask about
any health care quality report or report card:
Important is this Rating for What I Need to Have Done?—Decide
whether the ratings you are looking at are related to the procedure you need
done. You can give greater weight to ratings that are closely related to your specific disease or treatment. For
example: A hospital may have been rated well for treating heart attack patients
in an emergency department, but that does not mean the same hospital also is
rated well for heart valve replacement. In addition, If you are having
surgery and are concerned about preventing infections, ratings based on
hospitals’ surgical-site infection rates would be more important than ratings
about patient satisfaction with the hospital’s staff friendliness.
is the Study Funded?—Some organizations require that
hospitals or other providers pay a fee to receive a rating and be listed on the
organization website. You can consider information to be more reliable and less
likely to be biased if the organization producing the report has no financial
or other interest in the report or ratings.
Does the Information Come From?—Data used in hospital
ratings can come from many sources, including patient satisfaction surveys,
surveys of hospital doctors and nurses, billing data used in collecting
payments, or from review of a sample of medical charts. Data also can be
collected or reported by employees of the hospital or by outside researchers.
Give greater weight to ratings that do not include personal opinions and that
are collected by objective researchers.
Understanding hospital quality
reports is one way to learn more about hospital quality. Other ways include: asking
your doctor, asking your insurance company and asking the hospital.
You can learn more about
hospital quality and safety efforts from the following organizations: