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Hospital quality care information available online

Sunday, September 18, 2005

SIKESTON -- Information about the quality of care provided by individual Missouri hospitals is now available online.

The new Web site, www.focusonhospitals.com, shows how often Missouri hospitals provided currently recommended care for three common health problems that affect the largest patient populations treated in hospitals -- heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia.

"This is the first online statewide quality report for Missouri's hospitals," said Marc D. Smith, president of the Missouri Hospital Association. "Missouri hospitals are deeply committed to quality improvement and communicating clinically meaningful information to patients."

Sponsored by the Missouri Hospital Association, Focus on Hospitals allows visitors to search for specific data about each hospital's performance related to treatments for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia. They can choose to have results displayed by various categories, including region, city and number of hospital beds.

According to Michael B. Shirk, chair of the MHA Health Care Quality Advisory Committee, patients can use this information to initiate a serious discussion about their medical care. Focus on Hospitals is another resource patients can use to take an active role in making health care decisions that affect their safety and well-being, he said.

Julie Fraser, vice president of Missouri Delta Medical Center Quality, who also sits on the advisory committee that helped with the initiation and implementation of the project, said MDMC is very dedicated to the Focus on Hospitals program.

"We have worked on these three indicators of patient care and are very pleased with MDMC's scores," said Sharon Urhahn, marketing director at MDMC.

For example, data showed the top 10 percent of Missouri hospitals give the recommended treatment for a heart attack 96 percent of the time; 50 percent of Missouri hospitals give the right treatment 92 percent of the time, and MDMC 90 percent of the time.

The composite score for half of Missouri hospitals that gave recommended care for heart failure is 81 percent; MDMC's average is 89 percent while the top 10 percent score was 93.

In cases of pneumonia, MDMC earned a composite score of 84 percent -- higher than half of Missouri hospitals which was 81 percent and slightly lower than 10 percent of the hospitals which had 87 percent.

MDMC scores were very comparable to other hospitals in the region -- and even higher in some areas.

Results are calculated for each hospital based on every chart that dealt with one of the three diagnoses.

"The project data is obtained from our hospital by chart review and is electronically submitted to Missouri Hospital Association," Fraser explained.

Fraser and Urhahn encourage local residents to view the Web site to learn more about the quality of treatment MDMC provides.

Data from 98 hospitals is available online, and these hospitals have also submitted data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for its national quality report, Hospital Compare. Some hospitals in Missouri and the Kansas City area have chosen to participate in the national report, but decided not to participate in the Missouri-specific report at this time.

"We currently submit more data (than the current three) for the national report, but Missouri elected to focus on a few for now," Fraser said about MDMC.

Data will be updated quarterly and will include seven additional measures for heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia in mid-June 2006.

In addition, new conditions and focuses, including measures to prevent surgical infection and assess patient satisfaction, will be added in 2006

-2007.