Public Disclosure of Hospital Infection Rates Vary by State

Only 21 states require public reporting of hospital data on surgical site infections and, even when disclosure is mandated, the information is often not easily accessible to patients, according to new Johns Hopkins research.

In the study, researchers studied state laws on public reporting of hospital infection rates and found, as of September 2010, 29 states had no laws regarding the monitoring and reporting of surgical site infections. Of the 21 that did have such laws, only eight made the data publicly available in an easy-to-access format.


The researchers also found the data shared are limited, covering between two and seven procedures. For example, of the eight states that made infection data easily accessible, seven reported infections following coronary artery bypass graft procedures; six reported infections following knee or hip replacement surgeries; and two reported rates after colon surgery.

The study authors also discovered states don't always specify how data are collected, resulting in lack of uniform reporting that can make comparisons impossible. The research findings suggest that a state-by-state system for reporting quality measures is inadequate and that only national guidelines governing disclosure can offer an accurate picture of providers' performance, the researchers say.

Related Articles on Quality Reporting:

Oregon Patient Safety Commission Looks to Boost Voluntary Reporting

Massachusetts Seeks Suggestions for State-Specific Quality Measures

Study: CMS Public Reporting Program Has Little Impact on Mortality Rates

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