Tuesday, December 18, 2012

UDOH Releases Data on 5 New Measures of Hospital Safety

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) today released the
Utah Hospital Comparison Report, 2011. Utahns can use the report to access important information on all Utah hospitals regarding quality and patient safety measures that include:

1. Rates of accidental lacerations and punctures;
2. Death rates for diagnoses that should rarely result in death (e.g., hip dislocation, cesarean delivery);
3. Rates of incidental appendix removal among the elderly;
4. A composite rating for six mortality measures including heart attack, heart failure, acute stroke, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hip fracture, and pneumonia, and;
5. A composite rating of selected patient safety performance measures, including infection due to medical care and postoperative hip fracture.
The Utah Hospital Comparison Report is released annually to improve transparency, help the public choose a hospital for various services, and ultimately improve the quality of health care. Compared to the nation, Utah does better in rates of incidental appendix removal among the elderly, but worse in rates of accidental lacerations and punctures and in death rates for procedures that rarely result in death. Utah performed better than the nation for the mortality composite but worse for the patient safety composite.
“Some complications may be inevitable in caring for people who are seriously ill and require complex medical care, but methods are available to prevent most complications,”   said UDOH Deputy Director Dr. Robert Rolfs. “Data like these are important in helping us measure our progress, and in helping doctors and health care systems identify areas for improvement,” Rolfs added.
Under the direction of the Health Data Committee, the Utah Department of Health has released hospital comparison reports since 2005, as mandated by the Health Care Consumer Bill (SB 132).  The previous and current hospital comparison reports have been generated by MONAHRQ, a web development tool created by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  The information available in the MONAHRQ system is based on admission rates and pre-calculated AHRQ Quality Indicator (QI) measures derived from local hospital discharge data. 
The report also includes detailed quality statistics and the numbers of hospital visits for a given condition and the average charges associated with that hospital stay.
In addition to the newly-released measures, the majority of other health indicators that have been reported on in the past are still accessible. For example, expectant mothers can look for a hospital that excels in uncomplicated newborn deliveries.  Older patients needing hip replacement can learn how much they would be charged at one hospital versus another.
In addition, health care professionals, policy makers, and legislators can use the findings to develop and implement important health policies and best practice guidelines that will increase the quality of health care, while reducing costs. 
Each of the five new measures has been endorsed by the non-profit National Quality Forum, which is dedicated to improving the quality of health care in the United States. Utah Hospital Comparison report can be found at http://health.utah.gov/myhealthcare/.
Media Contact:
Zach Burningham, MPH
Senior Research Analyst
(o) 801-538-6355 (m) 801-857-8646