Health systems that are made up of at least one hospital and a group of physicians that provide comprehensive care are becoming more influential on the consolidation, cost, and quality of health care in the United States. To help states and health care leaders better understand their health systems and how they are performing, Mathematica developed the Health Systems Dashboard.
This dashboard focuses on hospital readmissions, an important quality indicator that is associated with poor patient outcomes as well as high financial costs. The dashboard illustrates which hospitals within systems have higher- or lower-than-average readmission rates across six health conditions. It also shows how performance on these quality measures is associated with the various characteristics of a system, such as ownership structure or participation in alternative payment models.
“We wanted to harness the power of some important but unconnected publicly available data and transform it into a digital tool that can answer pressing questions about health systems,” said Fei Xing, director of data science at Mathematica. “This first release of the Health Systems Dashboard makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how health systems are performing on the high priority issue of hospital readmissions, and we are excited to continue building on this tool by adding new data sources that can provide evidence to improve public well-being.”
The Dashboard uses an innovative user interface and user experience design that enables people to combine and compare multiple data options to ultimately create data visualizations offering new insights. This effort brings together for the first time three important sources of publicly available data: the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Compendium of U.S. Health Systems, hospital-level readmission measure data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Cost Report data.
With the Health Systems Dashboard, users can examine hospital readmission performance within individual health systems, across systems within a state, and by ownership type (church operated, for profit, nonprofit, or publicly owned). It also lets users filter for eight other characteristics of interest to policymakers that can affect performance, including the following:
- Has at least one hospital with high uncompensated care burden
- Has physicians that participate in a Medicare alternative payment model
- Has at least one hospital with a high Disproportionate Share Hospital patient percentage
- Has hospitals in multiple states
- Offers an insurance product including a Medicare Advantage plan, Health Insurance Marketplace plan, or a Medicaid managed care plan
A user could, for example, use the dashboard to reveal whether the rates of readmissions after hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass graft, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are higher on average in hospitals from for-profit health systems than the national average. The user could then drill down into these rates among health systems in a state and individual hospitals within specific systems. This functionality means that decision makers can examine these rates in more depth and possibly identify opportunities to reduce unplanned readmissions among such health systems.
We invite users to explore the dashboard and partner with us to answer their most pressing questions as we continue to add new data and other enhancements, such as comparing the landscape of health systems across states. Contact Fei Xing or David Jones to explore these opportunities.
Check out some of the other free digital tools that we co-created with our partners: the National Academy For State Health Policy’s Hospital Cost Tool and the Employers’ Forum of Indiana’s Sage Transparency, a hospital pricing and quality dashboard.