Your Health Matters in Cincinnati
07 May 2014
Navigating the health care system can be a challenge for anyone. It’s hard to find a compatible primary care provider. Hospitals are intimidating. Being sick is overwhelming. Cincinnati Aligning Forces for Quality (Cincinnati AF4Q), led by the Health Collaborative, is taking action and empowering consumers to be informed advocates of their health care.
To educate patients, help them find a doctor, and help them take the next steps in accessing high- quality care, the Health Collaborative launched a website, www.YourHealthMatters.org. The site was developed to provide health care consumers in Greater Cincinnati with a neutral and trusted resource for objective information about the quality of care available from providers in the community.
“We believe that informed consumers become engaged patients, and engaged patients have better health outcomes. When everyone plays a role in promoting better care and outcomes, health care costs decrease and high-quality care increases,” said Nancy Strassel, Cincinnati AF4Q project director.
YourHealthMatters helps people with diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, and more understand what they and their health care providers can do to ensure high-quality health care. The site presents information about how physician practices and their patients are doing in meeting goals that define high-quality care through a series of public reports and surveys. YourHealthMatters helps consumers do three key things:
- Learn: Consumers are provided with resources that detail what high-quality care is and what they should expect from health care providers.
- Compare: Consumers can look at a snapshot of primary care practices and hospitals on the quality of care they provide.
- Act: Consumers can take action by using tools and resources to find and get the high-quality care they deserve.
YourHealthMatters is useful for practices and hospitals as well. Physician practices can 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. With 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.
“It’s important to note that all of the reporting is done in the spirit of improving health care quality in our community,” said Judith Hirsh, director of consumer engagement and programs at the Health Collaborative. “The practices are reporting because they’re committed to quality improvement.”
YourHealthMatters now also reports on patient experience survey results. Patients in Greater Cincinnati are being invited 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 one’s 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. The public scores are easily accessible to consumers visiting the site.
“It’s local, it’s objective, and it’s credible. YourHealthMatters translates into consumer empowerment,” said Hirsh. YourHealthMatters, now in its fifth year, has become the go-to health care site in Cincinnati, now receiving more than 2,000 visitors each month.