USA Today‘s Steve Sternberg and Jack Gillum put a new spin on federal Hospital Compare ratings and other hospital quality data, matching the ratings, as well as data on death rates, with popular travel destinations and the locations of state parks. The reporters make the case that travelers should keep hospital quality data in mind when planning vacations.
From the story, which also includes a list of poorly-rated hospitals in travel hotspots:
A USA Today analysis finds two dozen hospitals near popular travel destinations, as compiled by the National Travel Monitor, have death rates among the worst in the USA. A separate analysis shows that one of every four hospitals with high death rates for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia — 94 of 402 — are near state parks.
AHCJ Vice President Charles Ornstein, whose own hospital quality coverage has earned national recognition, recently updated his comprehensive “Road map for covering your local hospital’s quality” tip sheet with links to state-by-state resources and additional nationwide tools for journalists looking into hospital quality.
AHCJ article: Making sense of hospital quality reports
Slim guide: Covering Hospitals: Using Tools on the Web
Free online training
On the Beat: Covering Hospitals: An innovative simulation guides you through the sources and resources you need to tackle the beat. You’ll tap into the same tools that you’ll use on the job, and you’ll have a virtual mentor to walk you through the maze of reports, statistics and sources. One story line teaches you about reporting on hospital quality
Investigating hospitals: Find stories with ready-to-use Hospital Compare data: AHCJ has made it easier for journalists to compare hospitals in their regions by generating spreadsheet files from the HHS database, allowing members to compare more than a few hospitals at a time, using spreadsheet or database software. AHCJ provides key documentation and explanatory material to help you understand the data possibilities and limits.
- How to cover your local hospital – Overview of many organizations that offer hospital quality ratings
- Sorting out hospital rankings
- Intro to investigating health data using spreadsheets
- Computer-assisted reporting basics: Investigating health data using spreadsheets
- Study: Hospital quality comparisons are inconsistent
- Performance data may not affect patient decisions
- GAO report on reliability of hospital quality data reported to CMS
- 2007 state quality data available
- Hospital quality resources by state
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