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New Web Site Ranks Quality of OR Hospitals, Clinics

March 17, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregonians can now check out how their local clinic or hospital is doing in terms of quality care compared to others around the state on a new Web site, www.partnerforqualitycare.org.

The site includes rankings – below average, average, or above average – based on national standards for patient care in four areas: asthma, diabetes, heart disease and women's health issues. Eight major health plans submitted statewide claim information to be analyzed, to the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation ("Q Corp").

Pam Mariea-Nason, director of health policy and community engagement for CareOregon, was on the Q Corp committee that compiled the details.

"This kind of information, this kind of work, can put the right kinds of data in the hands of consumers, to be able to take some control of their own health. And I think that's been a big missing piece in what we've been trying to do in improving the health care system."

Mariea-Nason explains that people can use the ratings, and other information found on the site, to get better care.

"As an example, if a diabetic patient sees the practice they're going to isn't rating very high in diabetic care, click on the portion of the Web site that's designed to help people understand how to manage their diabetes and how to get more out of their office visit - and actually take that information in and have a conversation with their clinician."

In addition to prompting more informed dialogue between patients and care providers, she says another hope is that facilities with 'below-average' ratings will take steps to improve them. The ratings will be updated regularly.

The site's biggest drawback is that some of the most rural areas of Oregon didn't have sufficient numbers of patients to compile a reliable statistical quality sample, so not all of them have received rankings. However, the Web site does include two-thirds of adult primary care providers in the state, and almost two-thirds of them are located in places other than the Portland metropolitan area.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR