Health IT, Hospitals

This hospital performance benchmarks index offers deeper dive than typical ratings sites

This health IT startup’s analytics index grades hospital performance, efficiency using CMS and other publicly available data.

Four years after analyticsMD founders formed their business, it has unveiled a Hospital Efficiency Benchmarks tool that ranks hospitals based on efficiency in the emergency room, cost efficiency, inpatient satisfaction, and inpatient staffing using publicly available data sets from the likes of CMS and others. The index represents an alternative to technology companies that rely purely on patients opinions of their appointments with individual practices that tend to focus on things like time, the personality and professionalism of the staff and personal feelings about the experience.

The company initially developed predictive analytics tools to help emergency rooms to improve efficiency by monitoring and analyzing ER operations and gather data to develop comparisons. The idea is to give staff a better idea of what to expect and offer more immediate feedback on what’s happening inside the ER.

The headline on the Time article is a bit misleading. The analytics tools it is using is intended to take some of the bias out of the grades unlike a thrilled or unhappy customer review you would typically see on Yelp or any other individual review of a hospital or physician practice.

The article highlights how highly regarded hospitals like Massachusetts General and Cedars- Sinai Medical Center come away with less than stellar grades. But after a quick search of other hospitals, I found a relatively low profile hospital St Elizabeth Medical Center in Kenton County, Kentucky earns an A-.

For each hospital it shows how it compares with other which hospitals in the state, how it scored on four criteria for incoming, admitted and  discharged patient flow and how often patients get frustrated. It also extracts data from the HCAHPS survey of patient satisfaction. The pie chart breaks down responses to each of the questions such as room cleanliness, nurse and physician communication, and noise levels at night.

The ability of companies like analyticsMD to use a variety of criteria to produce these grades allows them to offer a fuller picture than individual reviews and makes them more powerful. One downside is that it suggests each hospitals face the same challenges, which just isn’t true. One hospital might have much more challenging patients or a busier ER than the next.

The index isn’t designed to be relevant for someone figuring out which primary care physician to use in their region. But the company’s approach does make one wonder how far off these kind of analytical tools are for people seeking a more objective assessment beyond reviews driven by opinion rather than results.

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