What is the Hospital Compare Program?
Hospital Compare is a program developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Hospital Compare enables representative organizations of consumers, doctors, hospitals, employers and such like, to collaborate. In addition, Hospital Compare offers you the opportunity to find over 4000 Medicare certified hospitals across the country, and to compare the quality of care that they each provide.
The information provided by the Hospital Compare program enables individuals, like you, with the opportunity to make an informed decision about which hospital you choose to provide your health care. An added benefit of Hospital Compare is that by informing the public and enabling them to make a decision about where they seek their health care, the scheme can also help to encourage hospitals, and the staff that work there, to improve the quality of care that they provide.
Hospital Care Data reflects the information provided by CMS in an friendly and intuitive format. Use our look up tool to find a hospital near you.
What Information is Available about Hospitals?
The Hospital Compare program provides individuals, like you, with a lot of useful information about US hospitals. You can then use the information to help you make decisions about which hospital to seek your medical care from.
There are 6 key areas of information that are available thanks to the Hospital Compare program, and each of the areas is discussed briefly here:
1. Survey of Patient Experience
The Hospital Compare program includes a scheme whereby recently discharged patients are asked to complete a standardized patient survey called the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey. The survey asks questions that can help determine the level of care that patients received at the Medicare certified hospital that they were treated in. The information is then published for the general population.
2. Timely and Effective Care
This area of information concerns how efficiently hospitals act to recommend the necessary treatments for conditions like stroke, asthma and heart attack. For individuals this information enables them to choose hospitals where they can be assured that they will be treated in a timely manner, and with the recommended treatments.
The rates of complications that patients suffer from as a result of their hospital stay vary across hospitals. The Hospital Compare program makes the differences obvious, and enables individuals to ensure that the hospital they choose for their care takes the necessary steps to minimize complications, for example by following procedures that are scientifically sound, and based upon best practices. High complication rates can be a sign of a poor quality hospital.
4. Readmissions and deaths
Hospital Compare readmission and death rates provide information for the public that is based on how each hospital performs in terms of readmitting patients following discharge, and the number of deaths that occurred in hospital and post discharge, in comparison to the national rate of readmission (given how sick patients were when they were first admitted to the hospital). This information can be useful as low readmission and death rates can suggest that the care provided was effective. The information also enables you to see whether a hospitals care quality is better, the same, or worse than the national average.
5. Use of medical imaging
How hospitals use medical imaging tests like CT scans varies between establishments. The Hospital Compare program provides information on usage. Although these tests are effective, and can be helpful in confirming a diagnosis, there are risks associated with them. Therefore if a hospital has extremely high usage rates of medical imaging tests it may suggest that they are not following best practice by doing unnecessary tests, and putting patients at risk.
6. Payment and value of care
As medical treatment costs are so expensive finding a hospital that provides the best value of care is often a high priority for individuals. The Hospital Compare program provides information on treatment costs and value in relation to the success of treatment, so that you can select the hospital that provides best care possible for your budget.