How well does Union Hospital care for patients with heart failure? And how does Union Hospital?s patient care compare to other hospitals? The answers to these ?quality? questions are available to the public, but few if any consumers knew where to look or how to interpret the information they find.
According Dr. Thomas J. Kelly, vice president of medical affairs, hospitals have been reporting this information to the government and accrediting organizations but not directly to the public. Kelly says Union Hospital is making this important quality information available on the hospital?s web site where it is easy to find and can be understood by the general public.
?The information that you?ll find on our web site is submitted to our accrediting body and the Medicare program. While it is public, has not been easy for most people to find and understand,? Kelly said. ?We believe this is important information and should share it directly with the Community.?
Kelly says the hospital will be publishing this information on a regular basis so that the community may better understand Union Hospital?s level of patient care and services, and how it compares to other hospitals.
The Union Hospital web site is: www.unionhospital.org. The quality information is available by opening the ?About Union Hospital? button and selecting ?All About Quality?.
The quality data is compiled and reported by John M. Lischak, director of quality improvement and corporate compliance and used to identify opportunities for improvement and measure progress.
?We measure many aspects of our patient care, safety, and service to determine if we are providing the best care to our patients. We then compare our quality to that of other hospitals, set goals, and continually work toward even better performance,? Lischak said.
Kelly and Lischak point out that the web site will grow over time to include numerous articles on specific diseases and conditions. Each article is planned to include measures of quality, along with goals reflecting the level of care the hospital wants to provide. In addition, there will be a scorecard that compares Union Hospital to other hospitals.
Lischak says the first quality report to be available on the web site is for heart failure. The article discusses the disease, provides educational information, and reports seven quality measurements. A scorecard can be viewed that compares Union Hospital?s performance to three other hospitals in northeast Ohio.
?The quality performance goals you will see are typically high and based on the performance levels of ?best practice? hospitals,? Dr. Kelly said. ?These goals may be aggressive in some cases and a challenge to attain, but they do reflect the level of care the Hospital wants to provide.?