At Health Journalism 2012, Harvard’s Ashish K. Jha, M.D., M.P.H., told attendees to watch for new hospital report cards from The Leapfrog Group that were going to be both comprehensive and consumer-friendly. Jha and some other top health quality/safety people were among the project’s advisers.
People can understand letter grades – A through F. The idea is that a comprehensive approach – an overall grade – is more useful in the sense that, if a hospital gives fabulous and safe cardiac care, it doesn’t mean that a patient won’t get an avoidable infection during, say, a routine hernia operation or have a cesarean section that wasn’t unambiguously necessary.
Well, it turns out that the ratings aren’t just a tool in the whole consumer/quality movement. Some of the links at the end of this post can tell you more about the limits of these proprietary report cards versus public data – but consumers are seeing more and more of these “report cards” and you can use them for stories too. Continue reading