At BrokenHealthcare.org, we are trying to force price transparency by disputing and denying payment for confusing and error-filled medical bills you have already incurred. But we’re in for a long battle, and there is no reason we shouldn’t do everything we can to be smarter healthcare consumers right now. According to the Leapfrog Group, a patient has a 1 in 25 chance of leaving a hospital with a new infection. So your choice of hospital could be a life or death decision. Hospitals vary greatly on things like infection rates, surgical errors, and patient injuries, not to mention ER wait times and patient satisfaction. The sites and tools listed below do not eliminate the need for transparent pricing and a system overhaul, but they will make you better healthcare consumers, as you help us fight for real change.
The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement to advance the quality and safety of American healthcare. Every year, the group uses its flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey to collect and report information on hospital performance, “empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions.” You can (maybe) see how your hospital stacks up against others in the area on a wide variety of issues like in-patient care, new infection rates, high-risk surgeries, etc. The 2017 survey results were released this week. The problem is that the survey is voluntary, so not all hospitals participate. Of course, that itself is worth noting.
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. This is an eye-opener and the ratings do not rely on participation in the survey, so no hospital gets a free pass.
This relatively new website is run by Medicare and, therefore, utilizes a great deal of collected information. You can create side-by-side comparisons of up to three hospitals at a time on a variety of metrics, for a variety of conditions. You can also see how each hospital stacks up to the national average. One interesting feature of this site is the ability to compare hospitals’ use of imaging and other tests. The site will help you determine if your hospital orders too many or too few.