SHS Focus: Online health resources

Posted Oct. 30, 2007

To quote the resource itself, Quality Check® is a comprehensive guide to the nearly 15,000 joint commission-accredited health care organizations and programs throughout the United States. For health care performance improvement specialists, such a resource can be aptly utilized to drive their daily efforts. This review is intended to help you use Quality Check to do just that.

Conceptually, the Web site is similar to the HealthGrades online resource, which was reviewed in part one of this SHS Focus. Both publish performance reports on various clinical organizations, dimensions, and services. But, beyond this similar purpose, the two resources have noteworthy differences.

One difference is that Quality Check only provides information that was obtained during the Joint Commission survey process and endorsed by the National Quality Forum. HealthGrades, on the other hand, compiles quality information from multiple resources.  Because of the Joint Commission’s surveys, Quality Check reports contain outcomes data and specific process recommendations for healthcare organizations. HealthGrades reports primarily contain outcomes data. Whether this survey process makes the value and validity of the Quality Check reports higher than similar HealthGrades reports is a question best answered in regards to a specific quality score and the methods used to determine it.

Another difference relates to the number of organizations for which reports are available. Currently, Quality Check is making a strong effort to include basic information about as many non-accredited organizations as possible, but quality reports only exist for accredited organizations. This is in contrast to HealthGrades, which provides reports on health care organizations regardless of the organization’s accreditation level or the organization’s score on another ranking mechanism. For example, this non-accredited reporting makes HealthGrades a more appropriate resource than Quality Check for analysis of most long term care facilities.

In summary, Quality Check® is a powerful tool for motivating quality improvement, and should be used in tandem with HealthGrades to obtain a comprehensive understanding of clinical quality. Visit the Joint Commission Web site.

This article is part two of a three-part SHS focus on online health resources. The third article will review the Leapfrog Group’s Web site. None of the resources being evaluated have any organizational affiliation with SHS.

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