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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Beth Israel Deaconess posts performance data online

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff

On a portion of its website labeled, "We're putting ourselves under a microscope," Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center today began publicly comparing its performance -- both good and bad -- in key areas of quality and safety with that of hospitals nationally and to internal goals.

The Harvard teaching hospital reports that it's not meeting its own goals for preventing patients from falling and that it scores below top hospitals nationally in giving pneumonia patients in the emergency room antibiotics within four hours. But on many measures, Beth Israel Deaconess reports it is meeting or exceeding its own goals and the performance of its peers, including in many aspects of cardiac care and orthopedics.

A growing number of hospitals are posting performance data on their websites, part of a new "transparency" movement pushed by employers, insurers and government agencies, which believe more openness will lead to better care and lower costs.

But few hospitals -- Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire and now Beth Israel Deaconess among them -- include areas where they need improvement as well as those where they shine.

New England Baptist Hospital posts some limited quality indicators on its website, though they're hard to find and the hospital has selected ones only where it does well. Mount Auburn Hospital also shares a limited amount of information comparing how it does preventing four types of infections, but again, in all cases the hospital compares positively to national standards.

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