With the rise of HAIs and other quality of care-related issues in US hospitals, increased effort has been made to ensure patient safety. Patients can now compare facilities using Hospital Compare for over 4,000 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. This tool provides a snapshot of the quality of hospitals in seven categories, including patient experience, complications and readmissions and deaths.
So what does this means? Hospitals now need to step up their game. Healthcare consumers have access to information that they have never had before. It is becoming an increasingly competitive environment where the quality of care patients receive is now driving consumer decision making.
This information being made public is driven by the Affordable Care Act. As part of that act, the top 25% of hospitals with the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions will face payment penalties of 1% of their Medicare payments. Additionally, Medicare will not reimburse for treatment needed for certain HAIs.
As transparency into the quality of care becomes increasingly clear, it can only benefit the consumer. The goal is to reduce hospital readmissions, HAIs, and improve overall quality of care.