California launches hospital report card site

A new web site, www.CalHospitalCompare.org, enables Californians to compare the performance of more than 200 hospitals statewide on a variety of quality measures from maternity services to cardiac treatment.

The free service allows consumers to search for hospitals by location, name, or by medical condition. Hospitals are rated on 50 performance indicators, including patient satisfaction measures and specific conditions, such as heart disease, maternity, and pneumonia.

CalHospitalCompare is the result of a two-year collaboration by The California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce, whose members include hospitals, health plans, doctors and nurses, consumer groups, employers, and the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF). The data collection and analysis was performed by the University of California at San Francisco's Institute for Health Policy Studies.

Beyond consumers, CalHospitalCompare is also intended to benefit health care organizations. The report card is intended to provide health plans with relevant information to make decisions about which hospitals to include in their networks and offers hospitals reliable data to help improve the quality of care at their facilities. Physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals can use the data to make referral decisions.

CalHospitalCompare will be updated regularly with new measures. Future enhancements will include a Spanish-language version and an expanding set of performance measures; specifically, pediatric and intensive care measures will be added later this year.