Money & Business

Hospital Associations Leverage Data For More Transparency In Healthcare

By / Feb 8, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The Missouri Hospital Association is making hospital pricing and quality data publicly available to Missourians. Similar initiatives have been launched in other states.

The Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) has a new tool to help consumers make more informed decisions when choosing a hospital.

Announced last week, Focus on Hospitals is a consumer-centered website that uses data to inform Missourians of hospital costs, quality, and community health data throughout the state.

“The new Focus on Hospitals website provides price and quality data together on a single website,” Herb B. Kuhn, MHA president and CEO, said in a statement. “This will allow consumers to research hospitals prior to discussing treatment options with their caregiver.”

The website allows users to pull up data on a specific hospital that includes its pricing on the 100 most common inpatient procedures as well as emergency care, its quality—based on measures such as chronic disease management and number of readmissions—and community investment, such as the amount of uncompensated care it contributed. Users can then compare that data to that from another hospital or a statewide average.

Roughly 80 percent of the state’s hospitals are contributing pricing and quality-based data to the site, MHA spokesman Dave Dillon told the Kansas City Business Journal. Many of those not participating are from the Kansas City metro area, where some hospital systems have facilities in both Missouri and in neighboring Kansas.  MHA did not ask for participation from hospitals on the Kansas side of the city.

Focus on Hospitals is a similar tool to one the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) launched last month. Called Mission to Care, the website gathers information from a number of resources, including discharge data from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration and data from the Florida Hospital Uniform Reporting System, in an effort to create greater healthcare transparency in the state.

Using data to inform the public appears to be a growing trend among state hospital associations. While taking a slightly different approach from MHA and FHA, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association developed an online data-based public awareness and advocacy tool called the Community Health Legislative Dashboard last year.

Drawing on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Virginia Health Department, the tool allows users to view information on local hospital admissions and the number of community physicians, as well as data on adult obesity, smoking rates, and premature deaths across the state’s legislative districts.

“We want the general public to have this tool and to know about the various health indicators in their community—some of them are strong and some leave room for improvement,” Julian Walker, VHHA vice president of communications, told Associations Now.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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