Monday, May 18, 2015

Redesign of Hospital Comparison Tool Eases Care Option Navigation

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has released a redesigned Utah Hospital Comparison tool (  The updated tool introduces CMS nursing home quality reports for 99 certified nursing care facilities, CMS physician profile and location reports for 6,700 physicians, and enables consumers to trend        year-over-year hospital utilization data for the most recent five years. In addition, this tool includes a short video located on the main page to guide consumers about effective ways to use health care quality reports. Consumers will also find a safe surgery infographic, which provides engaging, easy-to-understand, and shareable information on safe surgery.

For this release, local health departments (LHD) were added to the tool so that rates of conditions and procedures are now provided at the state, county, and local levels, including information on the number of hospital stays and charges or costs for hospital stays.

The hospital comparison tool for reporting supports the UDOH’s mission to improve the quality, accessibility, safety, efficiency, and cost transparency of health care for all Americans. To produce health care reports, the tool draws from local inpatient hospital discharge data; evidence-based measure results from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Compare data, including the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient experience survey; and pre-calculated AHRQ Quality Indicator™ (QI) results.

This tool enables consumers and other decision makers to easily compare Utah's hospitals in selected treatment areas based on cost, quality, and patient safety. Health care professionals, policy-makers, and legislators can use the tool to provide data for discussions about ways to increase the quality and safety of health care while lowering costs. For example, 
In reference to surgical patient safety, Utah performed better than the national average on how often patients in the hospital had to use a breathing machine after surgery because they could not breathe on their own.
When looking at heart surgeries and recommended care, Utah is a leader in low rates of how often hospitals use a procedure to find blocked blood vessels in the heart on both sides of the heart instead of on only one side. Doing this procedure on both sides of the heart often leads to more complications.  
Across the majority of health conditions and topics, Utah remains below the national average on mean costs associated with service use rates.
Taking a closer look at one of the major diagnostic categories, Diseases & Disorders of the Female Reproductive System (MDC 13), reveals that although the total number of discharges over the past five years have steadily decreased by county, the mean cost in dollars has steadily risen. 

Hospital comparison information is released annually as required by the Utah Health Data Authority Act, Title 26 Chapter 33a, with the goals of improving transparency, helping the public choose hospitals for various services, and ultimately improving quality of health care. In the future, the UDOH will be releasing separate web sites for consumers versus hospital administrators, researchers and analysts, and policy makers. The UDOH also plans to incorporate Emergency Department data into the hospital comparison tool in the next year.

The comparison tool is generated by MONAHRQ, which stands for “My Own Network powered by AHRQ, 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 measures (QIs) derived from local hospital discharge data.  The AHRQ QIs are a series of standardized measures that highlight potential health care safety and quality concerns. 

Media Contact:
Kimberly Partain McNamara, M.S.
Senior Business Analyst
801-538-9179 (office)