New online resource allows consumers to compare hospitals

The Wyoming Hospital Association (WHA) has unveiled an online resource for consumers who want to compare hospitals in the State. The system is called Wyoming CheckPoint and is designed to give a “snapshot” of the performance of Wyoming hospitals.

North Big Horn Hospital
North Big Horn Hospital

Hospitals voluntarily report information to the WHA, which, in turn, converts it to a user-friendly format that allows consumers to see how hospitals perform in key areas.
According to North Big Horn Hospital CEO Rick Schroeder, the project, which is a year in the making, takes information that is reported to a number of government agencies on a regular basis and puts it in a user-friendly format for consumers.
“The thing is, we send all of these reports to CMS and to other regulatory agencies,” explained Schroeder. “What this does is consolidate this information that we are mandated by law to report. There are big consequences for incorrect reporting to these agencies, so the information is very accurate.”
Schroeder points out that, unlike other systems where hospitals can report whatever they want, the CheckPoint system compares info that is legally required and since all hospitals are required by law to report the same information, it provides a true apples-to-apples comparison.
Schroeder said he likes the fact that the information is more current than other online sources. He said the data is at most three months old compared to a year old on other comparison sites.
“The good thing about CheckPoint is that you can see things we are working on right now,” said Schroeder. “It allows people to know what they’re getting when they come here and to compare us with other hospitals that provide the same services that we do. It allows them to compare us against the benchmark, against the state average and against the national average and I really like that. I think it’s good. It’s provides a picture of what we do and an opportunity for us to show how good we are. I think it’s better than any other comparison or transparency type tool that’s out there.”
The system was originally developed by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, which allowed the state of Wyoming to model its program in a similar manner.
“With this information, you can see how often each hospital provides recommended care for patients with certain conditions or the progress hospitals have made toward national patient safety goals,” states the CheckPoint website. “This information may be used by the public to compare how different hospitals perform and to promote quality improvement efforts within hospitals.”
A quick look at shows North Big Horn Hospital exceeding in all areas based on patient experience surveys.
“I’m really proud of our ratings,” said Schroeder. “Patients definitely recommend the hospital and they rate our doctors and nurses as always communicating well. The patients surveyed said they always receive requested help, the staff always explains medications, the pain is always controlled well, it is always quiet here, the rooms are always clean and the staff always provides discharge instructions. Isn’t that what every consumer would like to see?”

By Patti Carpenter