AHCJ: Joint Commission site obscures information

In a letter to Mark R. Chassin , M.D.,  the Joint Commission‘s president and CEO, the Association of Health Care Journalists has suggested improvements to the commission’s Quality Check Web site, where many people go to find out whether to trust their local hospital.

The Web site also is a potentially useful tool for health-care journalists. “In a time of change in health care, the ability to do comprehensive research on local hospitals is more important than ever before,” the association’s letter said.

Among the problems identified:

  • Hospitals with any level of accreditation are given “The Gold Seal of Approval” – even those whose accreditation is conditional or at risk of being denied.
  • It’s difficult to find out which hospitals in a given region have less-than-full accreditation. To check on a hospital’s accreditation status, one has to open each individual profile. The Joint Commission once had a mechanism to sort hospitals by accreditation status, but that is no longer available.
  • After a hospital loses accreditation, its past Accreditation Quality Reports are eventually removed from the site, leaving only the facility’s name with no historical record.
  • There is no easy way to do a side-by-side comparison of more than six facilities simultaneously.

“The organization that accredits hospitals around the country, and voices support for transparency about hospital quality, has a Web site that obscures the reality of many hospitals’ performance,” said Charles Ornstein, AHCJ president.

Read  more about AHCJ’s letter to the Joint Commission.