National Quality Data
Several online patient resources (web sites) document and/or compare the quality of health care providers. While this information can be helpful, it’s important to know that such data has limitations. It’s important that you have some basic knowledge of how the data is collected, how often it’s collected, and how the information is displayed.
Go to Quality Compare Links
Limitations of Online Quality Web Sites
One of the first things you’ll notice if you view comparative web sites is that statistics may appear different. Typically, there are two reasons for this. First, web sites update their content at different intervals. Second, the web site data may come from different reporting periods. Most reporting periods occur quarterly, but not all. To effectively compare data, it’s best if the information reflects the same reporting period.
Accuracy of data
Many web sites publish quality results reported by individual hospitals or health systems. Since collecting the data is labor intensive, hospitals can make honest mistakes when compiling or analyzing data. If errors are made, the quality information posted could be misleading or inaccurate.
To ensure accuracy, it’s important to validate results. The validation process involves a secondary review. This is done by taking a sampling of the data collected and making sure everything is correct. King’s Daughters’ Hospital and Health Services validates all quality information before reporting it to the appropriate public or quality organizations.
How data is displayed
As you view quality information, take a moment to read and understand how the information is being presented. For example, there may be times when quality data is unavailable for a certain reporting period because a particular hospital did not have enough patients to make results valid. A blank or “not applicable” designation does not necessarily indicate poor performance. You may also want to note how the overall number of patients involved relates to the score. Data collected on 100 patients at Hospital A versus 20 patients at Hospital B may affected percentage scores, but not necessarily the quality of care delivered. There are also times when specific public reporting measures may not reflect the most appropriate patient care – for example, if a patient is allergic to a certain medication or is too ill to undergo a specific test. Treating each patient appropriately is the physician’s most important goal.
Quality Comparison Links
Comparing Home Health Agencies
Compare Nursing Homes
Additional Quality-Related Web Sites