Our hospital quality data is chock full of incredibly informative and useful information. This post will highlight how the data can be interpreted.
Quality Metric #1 – Readmission Reduction Measures: Excess readmissions are measured by a ratio, by dividing a hospital’s number of “predicted” 30-day readmissions for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and other conditions by the number that would be “expected,” based on an average hospital with similar patients. A ratio greater than 1 indicates excess readmissions. All else equal, a ratio lower than 1 is desirable. Also important, yet more subtle, is to see how many readmissions there were relative to other hospitals in conjunction with the ratio. For example, if a hospital had 150 readmissions but the ratio was under 1, it tells us that hospital appears to be doing a good job provider care while the patient is in the hospital. If another hospital has 32 readmissions and the ratio is 1.19, it shows two things: first, it is experiencing higher than expected readmissions (bad) and second, the number of readmissions is lower compared to the other hospital. This suggests that the hospital does not have as much experience treating the given condition. One should not infer causality here, but it is generally better to seek care from a facility that “does a lot of those operations” and also has a low readmission rate.
Quality Metric #2 – Hospital Infections: Again, less than 1 is good, over 1 means the facility needs to improve incidents of infection.
Quality Metric #3 – Hospital Timely & Effective Care: collected from actual in-patients that spent time at the facility. The measure uses a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best. Pay attention to those measures that are most important to your particular situation & priorities.
Quality Metric #4 – Patient Surveys: Also collected from patient surveys. A treasure trove of data, the primary point here is there is a “wisdom of the crowds” effect based on how many patients are surveyed on any given rolling time period.
You can access over 4,000 hospital quality metrics here (select Hospitals on the page): Quality Metrics
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