The article titled, Medicare’s Hospital Compare Program Hasn’t Helped Save Lives, cites studies that show death rates have not declined in some categories and have declined modestly in others. The studies also go on to say that any decreases may be a result of other initiatives, not the Hospital Compare program.
The reason, say experts from WhereToFindCare.com, a private consumer group focused on healthcare transparency, is incomplete information that is out of touch with the average person.
The information provided doesn’t answer basic questions and it isn’t even findable when the majority of Americans begin their research. “Most people begin their research with an Internet search on their hospital’s name,” explains Barbara O’Connell, WhereToFindCare.com co-founder and digital marketing specialist. “What comes up is search results of private companies like WhereToFindCare.com and others, not the Hospital Compare website. But that’s just part of the problem. Once people do come across the Hospital Compare data, it just doesn’t help them make a decision.
So what can Medicare do to make the information more use-able for patients? Two things: Provide more meaningful data and give it context. Specifically, expected mortality rates and discharge type are missing. WhereToFindCare.com co-founder and chief analyst Dawn Hall explains: “Sharing information that is specific to unexpected deaths by discharge settings for a specific diagnosis is more helpful to both consumers and the health care community alike.” That’s because giving contextual data such as ‘the number of patients discharged home who died but were not expected to,’ makes the message more meaningful to the average person.
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WhereToFindCare.com supports transparency by providing consumers a no-membership venue to share their experience with others. Providers can also participate in the conversation by responding to comments, again, at no cost. We don’t believe anyone should profit from health care consumers and health care providers talking about improving health care. Visit http://www.wheretofindcare.com for more information.