FAQs

Learn more about the measurement of quality to improve patient care in Great Cincinnati.

About Your Health Matters

What is YourHealthMatters?

YourHealthMatters is a community-wide effort led by the Health Collaborative to improve the quality of health care in Greater Cincinnati. We do this by making quality ratings available and by providing resources to help you make better informed health care decisions.

The purpose of YourHealthMatters is to provide:

  1. quality ratings about how physician practices and their patients are doing in meeting goals that define quality care for diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  2. information about how well patients and their doctors are doing in getting patients screened for colon cancer
  3. patient experience survey results that show how patients evaluate their physician and staff based on their office visit.
  4. ratings about the quality of hospital care and checklists to assist patients before, during and after a hospital stay.
  5. a resource library with information and tools to empower you as a health care consumer.

The Health Collaborative will continue to work with health care providers to expand the reporting of quality of care results and information for other health conditions in the future on YourHealthMatters.org.

How was YourHealthMatters developed?
The inspiration for this site came from people just like you. Extensive research, interviews, and feedback from people in Greater Cincinnati led to conversations about the quality of care in this area and what could be done to improve it. As you explore the site, know that each section has been carefully structured based on the goals, opinions, and aspirations of individuals in the area.

Also unique to the development of YourHealthMatters is the joint effort of bringing together of diverse community groups (consumers, physicians, nonprofit community organizations, hospitals, employers, and health plan providers) who are all concerned about quality health care. These groups were all given the opportunity to express their ideas and hopes and those great ideas were all taken into consideration in building this website.

Do other cities have similar programs on healthcare quality?
The answer is: not many. Greater Cincinnati is on the leading edge of measuring health care quality and publishing this information publicly. The Health Collaborative has taken a novel approach in combining both patient and community group feedback to develop this website. Greater Cincinnati is one of only 18 areas in the country receiving funds from the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support measuring of physician practices and public reporting.  The generous grant support of Bethesda Inc. has made it possible to provide YHM to our community.
Questions on Quality

Why does the quality of health care matter?

It’s simple: You achieve better health when you have the best quality of health care possible. National research shows that patients receive recommended care only about half of the time. This means that many people aren’t getting the care they need, resulting in poor health, misspent money, and a cycle of poor care that is difficult to break. When everyone, from patients to doctors to the government, plays a role in promoting the best health possible, the cycle will be broken and health care quality will improve.

Primary Care Practices

Why did these physician practices decide to report on the quality of their performance?

The physician practices you see listed on this website have an outstanding commitment to delivering quality. They understand that better care comes from measuring how they and their patients are doing, and that is enhanced by sharing their results with their patients and other physicians. There is no cost and by joining YourHealthMatters, physicians demonstrate to their peers and our community that they are serious about quality.

Why aren’t all physician practices participating?

Because this is a growing effort in Greater Cincinnati, your physician might not be aware that he or she can participate. The Health Collaborative will update the physician information periodically during the year, and will continue to let physicians in the community know they can join to report their results next year.

My physician’s practice isn’t participating. Can the practice still join YourHealthMatters?

Yes. Please ask your physician to contact us for information on how to join.

Why doesn’t YourHealthMatters show results for individual physicians?

Care is coordinated by a physician, but it is a team effort, requiring the involvement of many health professionals at a physician practice. Reporting at the physician practice level is the most accurate way of showing this coordinated approach.

Hospitals

Why don’t I see hospitals, such as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital or the Lindner Center of Hope, on this website?

The hospitals included on YourHealthMatters provide “acute care” services for adults. Acute care hospitals offer general medical services that require an overnight stay. They also have 24-hour emergency services.

How do I know that a hospital provides quality services?

There are many factors to consider when analyzing a hospital’s quality. The information listed on this website includes some of the more common ways for the public to evaluate hospital quality. We encourage you to use the information provided and to discuss any questions you may have with your health care provider to make sure you make an educated decision about which hospital to choose.

What should I consider when choosing a hospital?

Choosing the best hospital for you is a very personal decision. We talked with patients and caregivers to learn what factors they thought were important to consider when choosing a hospital. We found that facts about hospital quality such as those provided on YourHealthMatters were important. They also said getting other patients’ opinions of the hospital was also important. We used these comments by patients and caregivers to create Your Health Matters. Of course, we also recommend that patients talk to their doctors to get their opinions on choosing the right hospital for your particular condition.

How can I best prepare for going into the hospital?

We encourage you to develop a list of questions for your doctor and learn as much as you can about what to expect during your hospital stay. You can also use the checklists, videos and other resources that are provided in the Resource Library of this website.

Do the hospitals in the Cincinnati region approve of this website?

Yes, they approve. In fact, the hospitals support the goal of making health care quality information and ratings easier for people to find In order to help individuals and their families make more informed health care decisions.

Are the hospitals in the Cincinnati region doing anything together to improve the care provided throughout the region?

Yes, hospitals have several efforts underway to improve quality. These efforts include:

  • helping prevent patients from returning to the hospital for needs that could be managed at home
  • improving coordination of care for when the patient leaves the hospital
  • making patients more safe in the hospital
  • reducing disparities in care
Why Measurement Matters

What is measured and why: Primary Care Practices

YourHealthMatters reports scores for the clinically proven goals for diabetes, cardiovascular health and colon cancer screening. The goals, when achieved together, represent the professionally recognized standard for managing these conditions. Reaching all of the goals greatly reduces a patient’s risk for complications associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. The goals are based on clinical guidelines approved by national health care organizations. In addition, the goals are reviewed and agreed upon by our local Physician Leadership Group, consisting of primary care physician leaders from the Greater Cincinnati community.

YourHealthMatters will also report patient experience survey results. Patients in Greater Cincinnati are being asked to complete a survey about the care they received during their last visit to their primary care doctor. The survey asks about experiences that should be part of every visit: Getting care when needed, good communication with your physician, and courteous and helpful office staff. The results of the survey reflect how often patients reported the best possible experience and if they gave their primary care doctors a high rating.

How is the quality performance score calculated
The performance score that is reported is a very rigorous way for a physician to measure his or her quality of care. The score itself is the percentage of patients in a medical practice who achieve all goals set for a condition. For example, one patient achieving all 5 diabetes goals, all 4 cardiovascular goals or getting screened for colon cancer, means one point for his or her physician’s practice; when a patient misses even one of the goals, his or her physician practice gets a zero score for that patient.
How are the patient experience survey result scores calculated?
The scores are based on patients’ answers to a survey called the Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS). The CG-CAPHS survey was mailed to a random sample of patients 18 and older who visited their doctor in the 12 months. Doctor’s offices chose to share their scores from this survey with us so we could share these scores with you.

The questions in the survey are closely linked to health care quality, the strength of the doctor-patient relationship and access to care, all important things to consider when choosing a doctor.

The questions in the survey focus on the following main categories:

  • Getting Care When Needed
  • How Well Doctors Communicate
  • Courteous and Helpful Office Staff
  • Doctors with an Exceptional Rating

The scores for each of these four categories is different and is created by taking an average of the number of patients who answered “Yes” or “Always” or gave a high rating when answering the questions.

Why does YourHealthMatters only report quality performance about primary care physicians and not about specialists?
YourHealthMatters is starting with primary care physicians, but there is a plan in place to add other specialty care professionals over time.
How can I be certain that the results are accurate?
Accuracy of results depends on ensuring that all participating medical practices submit results the same way. All participating medical groups follow an in-depth process of data reporting and their data is checked by an outside person to make sure it is accurate.

Also, please note that the data reported are based upon care that was delivered in these practices in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. This information includes scores from providers that were in the practice at that specific point in time. The providers may or may not currently be affiliated with practices listed. Additionally, the practice may or may not have changed affiliation since the time of data collection.

Some medical practices see patients who don’t have insurance or they treat sicker patients. Is any adjustment made for them?
The Physician Leadership Group, with representation from a very diverse group of practices and clinics, has determined that YourHealthMatters should not make adjustments at this time to the data based upon the types of patients or insurance coverage that physician practices see.
How does this report help me to understand the quality that is being delivered by my physician?
YourHealthMatters reports on the health outcomes of physician practices throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. By measuring how well physicians and patients did in achieving the goals, you will be able to understand how well a practice is doing in improving quality of care.
Is patient privacy protected?
Yes. Any personal  information on patients is not included when the practice submits its data. This complies with the HIPAA rule that all health care providers have to follow.

Where do the hospital quality ratings come from?

Hospitals give quality information to Medicare. The information given to Medicare is posted for the public on the Hospital Compare and Why Not The Best? websites.  The hospital quality information on YourHealthMatters.org comes from the Hospital Compare and Why Not The Best? websites; but, on YourHealthMatters we have tried to make the information easier to read and understand.

Where does the information on the hospital profile pages come from?

Each hospital provided us with the list of their accreditations, insurances accepted and a description of their quality improvement efforts.

How do I know how up-to-date the information is on YourHealthMatters?

Refer to the “Last Updated” date located on the top right hand corner of the Patient Experience and Effectiveness page or to the “Profile Updated” date in the bottom left hand corner of the Hospital Profile Page.

How do I know that the information on the website is correct?
Hospitals have several processes in place to make sure that the information that they submit to Medicare is correct. Medicare also checks hospital information before putting it on a hospital website. The YourHealthMatters team at the Health Collaborative also checks hospital information for accuracy before it is posted on the website.
How often is the hospital information on this website updated?
The hospital information on YourHealthMatters.org is updated twice a year and includes the most up-to-date information available.
How are the Overall Effectiveness scores calculated?
A method used by the Joint Commission (a national organization that monitors hospitals) is used to create overall scores for each condition. The overall score is the number of times a hospital performed the recommended treatment across all measures for that condition, divided by the number of opportunities the hospital had to provide appropriate care for that condition.
How are the Patient Experience scores calculated?
Patients are randomly selected and asked to complete a 27-question survey after leaving the hospital that asks about important aspects of their hospital experience. The answers from these 27 questions are grouped into 10 categories. The percentages listed for each category are the percent of patients who gave the hospital the highest rating. For example, if a hospital scored 80% in the “Quietness at Night” category – that means that 80% of patients thought the hospital was always quiet at night.

Visit HCAHPS to learn more on how the patient experience scores are created

How the Data Will Be Used

How can YourHealthMatters improve the quality of care in Greater Cincinnati?

For patients, YourHealthMatters can improve the quality of care by helping individuals with diabetes or cardiovascular disease understand how well physician practices and their patients are doing today and in how to work  with their doctor better and in how to take care of themselves better. The ratings about hospital quality and the resources on the website will help patients make better informed decisions and be more empowered patients before, during and after their hospital stay.

Physician practices will be able to see the results that tell them how they and their patients are performing against the goals, as well as how they are comparing to their peers. Once physicians have this information, they will be able to make changes to their processes and use resources more effectively, thus improving the quality of care they will be able to deliver.

Hospitals in Greater Cincinnati currently use the data on their quality performance by working together through the Greater Cincinnati Health Council and individually to improve their quality of care.

Are there guidelines or restrictions about using the YourHealthMatters physician practice and hospital data?

The physician practice and hospital results on this site are intended for use by the public and providers to improve their quality of health care, both individually and as a community. This information is not to be used to promote or publicize physician practices or hospitals.

How can I get involved in YourHealthMatters?

There are a number of ways to get involved and to support YourHealthMatters.

  • For patients: Review the physician practice and hospital scores and share this website with other family and friends. The quality information and tools will help you partner with your physician to get recommended care and empower you to make better informed health care decisions.
  • For employers/businesses/community organizations: Contact the Health Collaborative to find out how you can encourage employees to become more active in their health care. Support the Health Collaborative so YourHealthMatters can continue to add information to empower patients and improve quality of care.
  • For physicians and/or other health care providers: Investigate the tools on the site that you could utilize with your patients. Contact the Health Collaborative to learn about publicly reporting your scores.
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