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Variable Results for Web Sites Comparing Hospital Quality

Often use suboptimal measures of surgical quality

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Web sites comparing the quality of surgery at hospitals often give inconsistent results and use suboptimal measures of quality, researchers report in the September issue of Archives of Surgery.

Michael J. Leonardi, M.D., and colleagues at the University of California Los Angeles examined the quality of six publicly available hospital comparison Web sites: one government-run, two non-profit, and three private and proprietary.

The researchers found that the government and non-profit Web sites were best for accessibility and data transparency. The private Web sites were best for appropriateness, using process, structure and outcome measures to compare multiple surgical procedures. However, all of the data on the sites were at least a year old, and most were at least two years old. Inconsistent results were obtained when comparing three common surgical procedures at four Los Angeles area hospitals.

"A review of available hospital comparison Web sites shows suboptimal measures of quality and inconsistent results," Leonardi and colleagues conclude. "This may be partially because of a lack of complete and timely data."

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