Encouraging signs of hospital transparency

The Wall Street Journal reports that a few hospitals are publishing more quality data than required by Medicare’s Hospital Compare website. No hospital is the best in every treatment area, so the overwhelming majority have been unwilling to publish comprehensive data that would show their weak spots. But Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and The Cleveland Clinic are publishing comprehensive information, while four hospitals in Colorado, and hospitals in New York State are publishing more information than is typically available. (Note: the Dartmouth site was down when I tried it this morning.)

If the trend gathers momentum, it’s just a matter of time before hospitals that don’t publish comprehensive quality information will be at a competitive disadvantage. At some point we can expect to see most or all hospitals publish data on quality and even cost effectiveness.

This trend should be encouraged. It will help hospitals improve their quality and keep costs under control.

April 6, 2005

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