Public Reporting of Hospital Infection Rates: Not All Change is Progress (WP-13-07)
David Hyman and Bernard Black
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a major public health issue. In response, 25 states have adopted public reporting of hospital-specific HAI rates, but there is considerable diversity in how each state presents information. In related work, the authors assess the efficacy of these efforts by scoring individual states on the content, credibility, and usability of their public reports and websites. In this article, they address a related but distinct topic, focusing on three states (California, Pennsylvania, and Washington) which have made substantial changes in their HAI public reports, websites, or both during the short period since they began disclosing HAI rates. Indeed, Washington has made two sets of substantial changes to its HAI public reports/websites. How have these changes affected the content, credibility, and usability of these reports and websites? Stated more bluntly, does change mean progress? Sadly, they find that the answer is sometimes "no." They then discuss the lessons that other states should draw from these case studies.