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New web resource to help patients and families understand Johns Hopkins Medicine quality and safety data

Johns Hopkins Medicine released a user-friendly website for consumers that provides information and education surrounding its health system’s quality of care.

Available now on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, the new resource educates site visitors about the patient experience and key safety issues associated with high-quality, respectful care. It also compares past and present performance data to national and state averages for the institution’s five adult inpatient hospitals and home health care group. The goal is to provide critical information about the safety of the institution in an accessible format that appeals to potential patients, helping them make important health care decisions. 

“Where you go for health care can have a profound impact on your health outcomes,” says Peter Pronovost, Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine and Director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. “Our patients and their families and loved ones deserve to be informed about the safety and quality of their health care. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, we are dedicated to continuously improving our safety efforts and sharing our performance data with our past, present and future patients and the communities we serve.”

The Armstrong Institute led the development of the site with quality and safety leaders from The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Suburban Hospital and Johns Hopkins Home Care Group. More than 40 former patients and family members lent their voice to the project, advising the team on measures that are important to patients and reviewing the site for ease of use and functionality. Graphic designers and Web strategists formatted the information into visually stimulating charts that are simple to navigate and comprehend. The final product is a consumer-friendly site that allows visitors to interact with the data. It provides a narrative to help patients decipher the information and draw their own conclusions about each hospital’s performance.

“Many individuals choose to review data about their health care providers and use that data to decide what matters the most when it comes to his or her health care experience,” says J. Matthew Austin, an assistant professor at the Armstrong Institute. “We worked closely with our Patient and Family Advisory Councils to ensure we presented credible information about our health system’s overall performance in an easy-to-understand format that could help consumers digest the information, ultimately guiding their health care decisions.”

Consumers can access basic information on five key safety issues: the patient experience, infection rates, hand hygiene, hospital readmissions and core measures. Unlike other publicly available quality reports, visitors can view three years’ worth of performance data to see areas of progress and those in need of attention. Corresponding improvement initiatives are shared, and clinical staff members discuss how they support safety and quality every day. The federal government’s patient satisfaction scores from the new star rating system are also displayed.

While dozens of rating systems publicly post their ratings, they often differ on their conclusions about which hospitals perform the best or worst, potentially adding to consumers’ confusion over health care quality. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Armstrong Institute found that the four most popular hospital rating systems found no one hospital was ranked as a high or poor performer by all four systems.

“To get the full picture of our hospitals’ health performance, consumers used to need to look at numerous websites and then interpret the data,” says Austin. “We created this valuable resource in the hopes of providing patients with easy-to-understand information about some of the most important safety issues in one simple location.”

The Web tool is available at no charge to consumers on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website. The Armstrong Institute plans to update the tool regularly with new performance data and measures. As the patient safety and quality arm for Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Armstrong Institute aims to eliminate preventable harm to patients and achieve the best patient outcomes at the lowest cost possible.