How Good are Hospitals at Public Reporting?
In 1917, Chas. Scott Miller, M.D., then Chief, Division of Vital Statistics, Bureau of Health, Philadelphia, Pa., proposed the "Philadelphia Plan", in which he laid out the foundation for the standardization of hospital statistics. He was hoping to obtain the following results:
(1) the uniformity of reporting healthcare outcomes and death rates in the various hospitals,
(2) to enable us to study the effect of hospital administration in certain types of disease, and
(3) to provide meaningful public information that assists in improving the public health.
Nearly a century later, we are still waiting to realize these goals. The healthcare consumer is rarely aware of the actual quality or cost of care delivered by the healthcare institution. Transparency is lacking in other areas as well. Not- for- profithealthcare organizations rarely provide the public information of activities to justify their tax exempt status. Some strides have been made to improve public reporting of healthcare outcomes. For example, Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration publish some basic hospital outcome information on their websites. Information is available at state webs sites and some hospitals sites that choose to report quality of care outcomes. Although slow progress has been made, what is clear however, as Dr. Miller lamented in 1917, hospitals spend more money on marketing than on reporting and providing information to improve healthcare outcomes and improve value.
What if all hospitals reported the outcomes of their care in a meaningful user friendly timely manner?
What if our educational programs in public health worked with the hospitals as well as technology companies to provide the data for the public?