The Pulse
1:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Is Your Hospital Safe?

Here's a new online tool to help you decide: www.hospitalinspections.org.

It's searchable by topic (e.g., "medication error") and by state, and contains details about deficiencies cited during a complaint inspection. That means it doesn't contain information about routine inspections. And it only goes back to 2011. Also, it's incomplete, because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has only just begin collecting and posting this data online. And right now, that doesn't include the hospital's response to the complaint and inspection. Although you can read, in some of the narrative sections of the reports, what hospital employees told inspectors about what happened and how they responded.

But here's what's significant about this new online tool:

  • This data is hard to come by otherwise. Some states make it available online, but not Rhode Island. Until now, you'd have had to have filed a Freedom on Information Act request to get it. Here, although still incomplete, it's easier to find and search.
  • The tool is the result of years of advocacy by the Association of Health Care Journalists, who pushed federal officials to publish this information. Thank you, AHCJ!

You can find other details about hospital quality and patient satisfaction in Rhode Island on the Department of Health web site. Check reports for individual measures - like preventing hospital-acquired infections - here. Compare hospitals in Rhode Island and look up patient satisfaction survey results, as well as readmission and death rates from certain conditions here.

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