Innovative software cuts costs and time for States to report hospital quality information to the public
Research Activities, August 2010, No. 360
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently unveiled MONAHRQ—My Own Network Powered by AHRQ. It is a free, MS Windows®-based software application that significantly reduces the cost and time a State, hospital, or other organization would need to spend to compile, analyze, and post data on quality of hospital care, its cost, and how that care is used. MONAHRQ allows users to create a customized Web site with data that can be used for internal quality improvement or reporting quality information to the public.
The cost of creating a Web site with this data is estimated to be $300,000 or more, and the time required could be a year, according to States that tested MONAHRQ as it was being developed. With MONAHRQ, that time can be cut to a few days. Currently, many States require that quality data be reported publicly and other States are considering doing so. A State, or other organization, referred to as the host user, can download MONAHRQ from AHRQ's Web site at http://monahrq.ahrq.gov and enter its own hospital administrative data, which includes such elements as patient characteristics, diagnoses, procedures, health insurance type, and charges. MONAHRQ processes that information and then creates a Web site that the host user can customize by selecting a specific color scheme, inserting logos, and using other features.
A Web site created using MONAHRQ will provide information in four areas:
- Quality of care for specific hospitals—provides information about patient safety, patient deaths in the hospital, and other quality-related issues to answer questions such as, "Which hospitals have the lowest mortality rates after coronary bypass surgery?"
- Provision of services by hospital for health conditions and procedures—provides information about the number of patient discharges, charges, costs, and length of hospitalizations for specific hospitals to answer questions such as, "Which hospitals perform the largest numbers of hip replacement surgeries?" and "What is the cost?"
- Potentially avoidable hospitalizations—creates maps of county-by-county rates for potentially avoidable hospitalizations to answer questions such as, "Which counties have the highest rates of hospitalization for uncontrolled diabetes, and how much could be saved if these rates were reduced?"
- Rates of health conditions and procedures—provides information about the prevalence of diseases or medical procedures through maps of county-by-county rates for selected conditions and procedures to answer questions such as, "Which counties have the highest rates of lung cancer?"
MONAHRQ users provide information on elements of care that are not offered by the Department of Health and Human Services' Hospital Compare Web site. These include outcome measures of quality by individual hospital, such as patient safety events and deaths; data on which high-volume procedures are associated with better outcomes; and preventable hospitalizations by county on conditions for which good outpatient care could avert the need for a hospital stay. MONAHRQ also generates the information in a completely different way. Using the MONAHRQ software, users generate a custom Web site they can host on hospital quality using a step-by-step approach to analyzing the data.