Hospitals

Ohio Department of Health launches hospital comparison Web site

The Ohio Department of Health has launched Ohio Hospital Compare, an interactive Web site that enables consumers to “shop” hospitals for performance data in several categories of medical care.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health has launched Ohio Hospital Compare, an interactive Web site that enables consumers to “shop” hospitals for performance data in several categories of medical care.

The site went live today, as required by House Bill 197, which became law in August 2006 and mandated that the health department collect 70 data points from hospitals every six months and make them available in a user-friendly format, said Sara Morman, a public information officer for the department.

The site’s current data for 13 indications including heart attack and failure, pneumonia and patient safety, surgical and infection measures is from 2008, Morman said. “Once we receive another six months of data, the oldest six months of data will drop off,” she said in an emailed response to a reporter’s questions.

Hospitals’ deadlines for providing new sets of data are April 1 and Oct. 1, Morman said. The health department would use the data to update the site each July 1 and Jan. 1, she said.

As passed by the Ohio Senate, the bill would have required the health department to collect price, admission, discharge and performance data from hospitals. However, the bill as enacted requires the department to collect and make available only information “concerning their performance in meeting certain measures and their charges for services.”

The site allows users to compare hospitals from several or all Ohio counties in several or all categories of care. For instance, a comparison of four hospitals in Cuyahoga, Portage and Geauga counties in the “surgical care” category yielded a ranking of percentages for the requested hospitals, as well as a state average percentage. Clicking on “?” icons yields definitions and explanations of the significance of each care category.

A quick browse of the site did not reveal any prices for services.

The health department has scheduled a media introduction to the site on Monday, Jan. 4.

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