Commonwealth Fund launches Web site for hospitals to compare, improve quality

The Commonwealth Fund has launched a new Web site that allows healthcare providers to compare 4,500 hospitals nationwide, track performance over time against numerous benchmarks and download tools to improve healthcare quality.

WhyNotTheBest.org is a free resource which provides data on hospital performance across two dozen measures of recommended care and links users to improvement resources directly related to those measures, connecting them to hands-on tools they can put into practice.

"We are home to many of the best physicians and hospitals in the world but we aren't where we could be on many quality measures," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "This resource offers healthcare providers another useful tool in their continued efforts to provide the best care possible for their patients."

WhyNotTheBest.org also lets users search for and compare hospitals with similar characteristics, such as region, ownership, size and type (such as safety net, teaching hospital). Benchmark comparisons show how a hospital measures up against others in the same state, the top 10 percent or the national average. IPRO, a not-for-profit healthcare evaluation and quality improvement organization, conducted data analysis and Web development for the site.

"We ... strongly believe in data-driven tools which help providers improve performance," said Jaz-Michael King, senior director of healthcare transparency at IPRO.

WhyNotTheBest.org was created to address shortfalls in the U.S. healthcare system, such as the variability in healthcare quality documented in "Why Not The Best: Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance," a biennial report prepared by The Commonwealth Fund for its Commission on a High Performance Health System.

WhyNotTheBest.org links to patient brochures, hospital self-assessment tools, videos, posters and other materials created by organizations like the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the American Heart Association and hospitals.

Populated with publicly reported data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "Hospital Compare" Web site, WhyNotTheBest.org shows how hospitals fared on 24 nationally recognized measures of care, including those evaluated in The Commonwealth Fund's National Scorecard report.

"I was able to trend our performance over time and read how innovators solved their own quality problems," said Robert Wachter, MD, associate chairman of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Medicine and chief of the medical service at UCSF Medical Center.

WhyNotTheBest.org represents the marriage of healthcare transparency and modern Web technologies, and the results are thrilling."

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