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Why is "Quality" Health Care Important?
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Question What is "quality" health care?

Answer “Quality” health care has a wide variety of meanings. To some people, sitting in the waiting room a short time to see a doctor means “quality” health care. To others, being treated politely by the doctor's staff means “quality” health care. There are those who define “quality” health care by how much time the doctor devotes to examining you.

While these are important, "clinical" quality health care is even more important. For instance, if you take your car to a mechanic, the people in the auto shop can be friendly and listen to your complaints but the most important factor is whether or not they fix the problem with your car. Similarly, when you go to a hospital or provider, you want them to fix your problem and help make you better.

There are many ways to measure "clinical" quality health care. The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has assembled a range of ways to identify "clinical" quality health care in hospitals. These measures are based on national practices that measure the clinical performances of hospitals by examining data gathered from hospitals.

Question How do you know if a hospital is delivering "quality" health care?

Answer By examining the number of times a hospital has provided care that has been scientifically proven to improve a medical condition and looking at the outcome after a patient has received the recommended care, you can get a picture of how well a hospital is providing quality of care. Using definitions of care that can be measured with numbers is one way to gauge the success or failure of a treatment.

Question What kind of quality information is on this web site?

Answer The quality information presented on this web site uses clinical performance measures based on national standards that define “best practices” or “recommended care”. “Best practices” or “recommended care” can be a single activity or a set of processes that have been documented by research and experience to lead to the best outcomes. The measures used on this web site can be classified as either Recommended Care (also known as Process of Care Measures), Outcome of Care Measures, Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs), or Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs).

Question Why do you have so many measures on the quality of hospitals?

Answer To get the entire picture of quality care being delivered by a provider, it is important to know the results of both recommended care/process of care and outcome of care measures in addition to other information. Each measure is based on national standards developed by different federal agencies looking at different parts of quality. Data gathered from different sources show different aspects of care and treatment.

Question Can I use the information on this web site to draw conclusions about New Jersey hospitals?

Answer This information is not intended to be used alone. The scores, rates, and ratios on this web site are intended to provide important information to help you make informed decisions. Use this information in conjunction with other information in making decisions about hospitals.

Question What should I do with the information I learn from these reports?

Answer Use this information to ask your doctor questions. Be informed. Gather more information, and make informed decisions about which hospital is most appropriate for your health care needs.

Question Why should I care about quality?

Answer Hospitals and doctors differ in how well they provide appropriate care to patients. The quality of the care provided by your doctor and hospital may influence your health.

Question If doctors make decisions on where a patient should get care, why should I look at hospital performance?

Answer Many consumers want a doctor’s recommendation on hospitals. Frequently, people collect as much information as possible to make informed decisions. The information on this web site will provide some of that information.

Many people choose doctors according to their doctor’s hospital affiliation. A doctor must have privileges at a hospital to admit patients. Your doctor may admit patients to several hospitals.

If you decide that you would like to go to a hospital with which your doctor is not affiliated, you may want to ask your doctor for a referral or call the hospital of your choice and ask for a list of doctors.

If you are enrolled in a managed care plan, use the information on this website to help review your hospital network. Managed care insurers usually offer several choices of hospitals in an area.

Question Aren’t all doctors and hospitals the same?

Answer No. Hospitals differ in their specialties and expertise. Some are better equipped than others to handle different conditions and levels of care. Not all hospitals have state approval to perform certain services. Hospitals employ doctors with different specialties, expertise and abilities. These differences will influence the quality of the care that you receive.


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Last Modified: Monday February 08 2016