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Online Resources

A range of organizations have published information online about the quality of hospital care. These sites provide you with a variety of ways to assess health care quality.

About quality of care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the federal agency charged with improving the quality of health care for all Americans. This site provides information to help you understand quality and safety in health care.

Government health care websites

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems

Information reported: This site reports on how hospital patients answered questions in the HCAHPS survey, which is given to all inpatients in hospitals nationwide. The survey is designed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Survey results report patients' views on hospital care in many areas, including communication, responsiveness and pain control.

Search capabilities: You can search by hospital name, ZIP code, city and state. You can select up to three hospitals to compare data.

How to access: For information on how the patient survey is conducted, visit www.hcahpsonline.org. To see patient survey results for a hospital and compare it to others as well as to national and state averages, visit www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.

Hospital Compare

Information reported:  This site lets you compare quality of care among hospitals.  The comparisons are based on HCAHPS patient survey results and core performance measures. (Core performance measures are uniform standards for health care processes  and the outcomes of those processes  for common conditions such as heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia.) The site is created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Search capabilities: You can search by hospital name, ZIP code, city and state. You can select up to three hospitals to compare data.

How to access: www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov

Illinois Department of Public Health Hospital Report Card

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is responsible for the regulation and delivery of health care services in Illinois.

Information reported: This site offers comparisons of Illinois hospitals based on many measures, including quality, safety, satisfaction, staffing levels, patient volume by condition and average charge.

Search capabilities: You can search by hospital name, ZIP code, region and county. You can select multiple hospitals to compare data.

How to access: www.healthcarereportcard.illinois.gov

Health care organizations' websites

American Nurses Credentialing Center

Information reported: This site lists organizations the American Nurses Credentialing Center (AANC) recognizes for excellence in nursing. Called "Magnet" nursing status, the designation is considered the highest recognition given for nursing excellence. The ANCC is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.

Search capabilities: You can search by state to find Magnet hospitals.

How to access: www.nursecredentialing.org

The Joint Commission Quality Check

Information reported: This site provides summaries and comparisons of health care organizations accredited by the Joint Commission. Information includes patient satisfaction data, mortality measures and certified programs. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 17,000 health care organizations and programs across the United States.

Search capabilities: You can search by organization name, ZIP code, city and state. Within a ZIP code or city/state search, you can sort by type of service or type of provider/certification. You can compare up to four hospitals at a time.

Designations and recognitions: The Joint Commission provides overall accreditation to hospitals. It gives a Gold Seal of Approval to organizations that met the standards for performance in key areas, such as patient rights, patient treatment, medication safety and infection control. It also provides certifications in disease-specific care, such as diabetes and stroke.

How to access: www.qualitycheck.org

The Leapfrog Group

Information reported: This site reports on hospitals' progress toward meeting Leapfrog standards for quality and safety in patient care. Leapfrog offers the only national, public comparison of hospital quality factoring in mortality rates for certain common procedures, infection rates, safety practices, measures of efficiency and patient survey results. The Leapfrog Group is a national, not-for-profit organization that promotes health care safety and quality improvement.

Leapfrog annually lists top hospitals that meet stringent performance standards, meaning excellent outcomes for patients.

Search capabilities: You can search by city, state, ZIP code and hospital name. You can sort by overall safety and select procedures. You can compare hospitals within these results

How to access: www.leapfroggroup.org

Media and independent ratings organizations

U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals”

U.S. News & World Report is a national newsmagazine. It annually publishes a list of hospitals nationwide in its "Best Hospitals" issue.

Information reported: This site ranks hospitals in 16 adult and 10 pediatric specialty areas, including the top 50 of more than 4,800 hospitals nationally. Rankings for adult hospitals are based on medical outcomes, reputation of programs among physician specialists and care-related indicators.

Search capabilities: You can search by hospital name, specialty ranking, city/state and ZIP code.

Designations and recognitions: The America's Best Hospitals issue lists the top 50 hospitals in each of the 16 adult and 10 pediatric specialty areas. Hospitals that make their Honor Roll rank at or near the top of these lists in at least six specialties.

How to access: health.usnews.com/best-hospitals

Consumer Reports (Health)

Information reported: Consumer Reports rates hospitals based on two factors: patient surveys about their experiences at the hospital and the "intensity" of the care. The patient survey ratings are from a national government survey of adult patients' hospital. The information on the "intensity" of care comes from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.

Consumer Reports is published by the Consumers Union, which is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Its health section provides information about patients' experiences with health-related products, hospitals and other health care providers.

Search capabilities: You can search by state, city/county and hospital name. You can select up to five hospitals for comparison.

How to access: www.consumerreports.org/health (Paid subscription is required for detailed information and reports from Consumer Reports.)

Healthgrades

Information reported: Healthgrades provides performance ratings on hospitals, based on clinical outcomes from Medicare patients. HealthGrades is an independent, for-profit health care ratings organization that provides performance reports on hospitals and physicians.

Search capabilities: You can search by state and city. You can then sort by procedure and diagnosis or an award recipient category.

Designations and recognitions: America's 50 Best Hospitals Award, Distinguished Hospital-Clinical Excellence Award, Outstanding Patient Experience Award, Patient Safety Excellence Award, specialty excellence awards (specific to specialty areas), Women's Health Excellence Award

How to access: www.healthgrades.com

Truven Health Analytics 100 Top Hospitals

Information reported: Truven Health evaluates hospitals based on patient care outcomes, operational efficiency and financial stability. Truven Health Analytics is an independent organization providing analytic tools and benchmarks to the health care industry.

Designations and recognitions: Truven Health annually designates the top 100 hospitals in the nation. Hospitals are evaluated against similar hospitals, in terms of size and teaching status.

How to access: www.100tophospitals.com