Tuesday, December 13, 2011

State Unveils New Numbers on Hospital Care in Utah

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The expanded online Utah Hospital Comparison Report, released today by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), brings together information from different sources about hospital care in Utah (http://health.utah.gov/myhealthcare). In addition to measures of in-hospital deaths, average charges, and patient safety, the report shows maps of county rates for avoidable hospitalizations, readmission rates, hospitals’ adherence to guidelines for recommended care, and patient satisfaction. 
The report shows Utah hospitals are doing better overall than the rest of the nation in measures including injuries to newborns, women giving birth, and in-hospital deaths among patients with heart failure, pneumonia, and stroke. However, there are differences among hospitals.
Patients and their family members can use the information to discuss their best health care options with providers. Health care professionals, policy makers, and legislators can use the findings to inform discussions about ways to increase the quality and safety of health care while lowering costs.
The UDOH, with guidance from its advisory panel, the Health Data Committee, has released hospital comparison reports since 2005, as mandated by the Health Care Consumer Bill (SB 132). 
This most recent report was generated by MONAHRQ, a tool developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and is organized so that readers can find the type of information and amount of detail that interests them. Ratings for the Public shows which hospitals performed better than average, average, or below average when compared to all Utah hospitals (referred to as the Utah mean in the report) for a condition, such as heart attack, or a procedure, such as delivery of a baby using medical instruments. Detailed Quality Statistics shows the actual numbers upon which Ratings for the Public are based. 
The Average Charges section lists the number of patients with a specific condition and average charges for treating them. Maps of potentially avoidable hospital stays are also available, showing hospitalization rates by county for conditions that often can be properly managed in outpatient care settings, such as diabetes.    
"MONAHRQ is an economical tool for states to make their health care data reporting accessible to consumers, providers, payers, policy makers, and researchers," said Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D., AHRQ Senior Research Scientist and co-developer of MONAHRQ.
Greg Poulsen, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Intermountain Healthcare, agrees. “Good, consistent information is at the heart of quality and value improvement,” said Poulsen. “Providing accurate, clear, and easy to understand data helps consumers to make wise choices, and providers to make improvements.  We are fortunate in Utah to be on the forefront of collecting and providing meaningful health data.”
Media Contact:
Carol Masheter, Ph.D.
Epidemiologist II
801-538-6355 (office)
801-493-9114 (cell)