News Briefs

Inpatient data available on line from AHCPR

Benchmarking just became easier with a new interactive on-line service from the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research in Rockville, MD.

The service, accessed through, provides inpatient information on length of stay, total charges, discharge status, mortality, and other indicators. Users can search for various conditions, disease groups, and procedures, and can select patient or hospital characteristics.

The source for the data is the 1996 Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), and the database contains information from about 6.5 million hospitals stays at more than 900 hospitals in 19 states.

Empowered’ patients called happier

Giving patients information on their rights as patients leads to greater satisfaction, according to a recent study by Press, Ganey Associates in South Bend, IN. In surveys of about 250,000 patients at 525 hospitals, 85% of those who had been informed about their rights were satisfied overall with their care, compared to 81% of those who hadn’t received that information. The difference was considered statistically significant.

The study provides further evidence that patients want to be empowered with information, says Marilou Marosz, manager of corporate communications for Press, Ganey. "More and more providers are developing brochures that explain what is going to happen (in their treatment) and what to expect," she says.