August 20, 2014

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Health Department Releases Hospital Comparison Tool

Press Release

August 20, 2014

Salt Lake City – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has released the 2012 Utah Hospital Comparison Tool. The online tool enables consumers and other decision makers to compare Utah's hospitals in selected treatment areas based on cost, quality, and patient safety. Health care professionals, policy makers, and legislators can use the tool to inform discussions about ways to increase the quality and safety of health care while lowering costs.

This year, Utah added a new module, County Rates of Hospital Use, which provides rates of conditions and procedures at the county level, including information on the number of hospital stays and charges or costs for those stays. Maps of hospital use are also available, showing hospitalization rates by county for selected conditions.

In addition, there are seven new indicators included in the query tool this year. Two of the indicators show that as a whole, Utah performs better than the national average when it comes to limiting unnecessary cardiac imaging for preoperative risk assessment CT scans and limiting inefficient simultaneous use of brain CT and sinus CT scans.

Other new indicators show that in reference to surgical patient safety, Utah performed better than the national average on how often post-operative patients became unable to breathe on their own and needed a ventilator, but has room to improve on how often patients developed a post-operative blood clot that ended up in the lung or in a large vein.

The findings also show Utah ahead of the rest of the nation in all childbirth measures, including those for new mothers and newborns, and provide information about how often and when C-sections and vaginal births are performed.

“Some complications may be inevitable in caring for people who are seriously ill and require complex medical care, but methods are available to prevent most complications,” said UDOH Deputy Director Robert Rolfs. “Data like these are important in helping measure our progress, and in helping doctors and health care systems identify areas for improvement.”

Hospital comparison information is released annually as required by the Utah Health Data Authority Act with the goals of improving transparency, helping the public choose hospitals for various services, and ultimately improving quality of health care.

The comparison tool is generated by MONAHRQ, a web development tool created by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The information available in the MONAHRQ system is based on admission rates and pre-calculated AHRQ Quality Indicator measures (QIs) derived from local hospital discharge data. The AHRQ QIs are a series of standardized measures that highlight potential health care safety and quality concerns.

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