On November 4, 2011 the Philadelphia Inquirer started promoting the advent of its new Hospital Data page on Philly.com. The web page collects data regarding local hospitals and catalogues the information in a simple and accessible way, allowing for consumers to choose the hospital which would best suit their needs. The page currently lists performance data from 48 hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with the number of hospitals researched growing over time.
Some of what this Inquirer web channel would do is calculate how likely patients are to survive a heart attack. For example, the website reports that Doylestown Hospital has the lowest mortality rates within 30 days of being admitted for a heart attack, at 10.9 percent, with the national average being 15.9 percent. Similar statistics can be found regarding heart failure, pneumonia and other illnesses. Furthermore, rates of mortality, readmission and infections are listed.
The goal, reports Inquirer’s Tom Averil and Dylan Purcell, “is not to steer everyone to the best hospitals… ‘[but to] stimulate all hospitals to improve.’” By ranking hospitals based on productivity, hospitals with lower scores could feel pressure to improve their services.
Data is collected partly by former patients who rank hospitals based on how well doctors communicated with them and how well their pain was controlled, and partly by research programs like Medicare’s “Hospital Compare.” Furthermore, data are collected by Medicare patients and non-Medicare patients, which makes the information useful for everyone.
This hospital data page is, however, still a work-in-progress, as some information collected by the database is incomplete or otherwise misleading. But, whatever kinks there may be should be worked out over time, as the database grows. If you are interested in visiting Philly.com’s Hospital Guide page, just click here.