Empowered patients know they’re responsible for their choice of care providers. We usually follow our clinicians’ advice, but we take responsibility for it.
That’s hard when a quality agency obscures its findings. So I object to a reality reported this week by AHCJ, the Association of Health Care Journalists: Joint Commission site obscures information. Excerpt: (emphasis added)
“Among the problems identified:
- Hospitals with any level of accreditation are given “The Gold Seal of Approval” – even those whose accreditation is conditional or at risk of being denied.
- It’s difficult to find out which hospitals in a given region have less-than-full accreditation. To check on a hospital’s accreditation status, one has to open each individual profile. The Joint Commission once had a mechanism to sort hospitals by accreditation status, but that is no longer available.
- After a hospital loses accreditation, its past Accreditation Quality Reports are eventually removed from the site, leaving only the facility’s name with no historical record.
I spent some time looking around in the site, and indeed,when you list the hospitals in an area, you can’t see a thing about their status: you have to pick through the whole list, opening them one by one.
So I called the Joint Commission and was referred to someone in communications, who would only re-state the way it is, saying the information is there (if you dig through it). I repeatedly said that we want it to be easier to find. It’ll be interesting to see whether they change it back.
Joint Commission, please hear this: healthcare citizens need clear, easy access to this pivotal information: “What are my options, for quality, convenience and price?”
We want to make informed choices – especially on the quality of the provider who’s going to cut our mother open and then care for her. Please help us make informed choices. Make the differences easier to see.
Thanks to AHCJ for doing this work and reporting it; thanks to Paul Levy’s blog at Beth Israel Deaconess for bringing this up.
Related e-patient resources:
- Health News Review, a great place to learn how to think critically about published health information
- Trisha Torrey’s book You Bet Your Life: Ten Mistakes Every Patient Makes, which teaches patients to wise up about the business of healthcare.