Quality data reporting can be useful in understanding more about what kinds of questions to ask when making decisions about healthcare. Various types of quality-related data are available from many different sources, including insurance companies, the federal government, hospitals, employers and other national groups such as Leapfrog. Below are some examples:
The American Association of Retired Persons conducts a survey that is published annually in Modern Maturity. Factors used in this survey include reputation, mortality, JCAHO score and training.
America’s Top Doctors
Every year Castle Connolly publishes America’s Top Doctors, which lists the best doctors in each of 41 specialties. The sole factor used in this survey is peer review.
BestDoctors.com is an Internet-based subscription service, where consumers can access lists of “best” doctors according to specific area codes and specialties. Again, this service is strictly based on peer review.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
CMS uses a set of ten quality measures that have gone through years of extensive testing for validity and reliability. They are endorsed by the National Quality Forum, a voluntary standard-setting, consensus-building organization representing providers, consumers, purchasers and researchers.
Healthgrades.com is also an Internet-based provider that assigns ratings for the following areas: cardiac, neuroscience, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, pulmonary/respiratory, obstetrics and vascular surgery. The score is derived using outcomes for specific procedures in each specialty.
The Leapfrog Group
Composed of more than 145 public and private organizations that provide healthcare benefits, The Leapfrog Group works with medical experts throughout the United States to identify problems and propose solutions believed to effect outcomes.
Solucient conducts a survey of hospital management and publishes its top 100 hospitals. Because Solucient measures the quality of hospital management, the majority of factors are business-related (profitability, productivity, expenses and revenue). The three clinical factors used are length of stay, mortality and complications.
U.S.News & World Report
The most widely used source of quality information is the annual U.S.News & World Report Best Hospitals survey. This survey uses three evenly weighted factors to rank hospitals in 17 specialties. The three factors are reputation, risk-adjusted mortality and technology.