This is an interesting portrayal, provided by GE, of hospital quality metrics. It compiles data from the Joint Commission's 2009 Annual Report on Quality and Safety and presents it in a visually attractive manner that permits a qualitative comparison among hospitals in each state. I provide a partial view above.
So, this is pretty, but is it useful? I don't think so. As I have said before:
There are often misconceptions as people talk about "transparency" in the health-care field. They say the main societal value is to provide information so patients can make decisions about which hospital to visit for a given diagnosis or treatment. As for hospitals, people believe the main strategic value of transparency is to create a competitive advantage vis-à-vis other hospitals in the same city or region. Both these impressions are misguided.
Transparency's major societal and strategic imperative is to provide creative tension within hospitals so that they hold themselves accountable. This accountability is what will drive doctors, nurses, and administrators to seek constant improvements in the quality and safety of patient care.
So, I think a better presentation would be one in which I could compare my own hospital's data year by year using the same kind of side-by-side visual imagery. Then, we could get a quick view of how we have progressed over time -- in essence, competing against ourselves, rather than against our colleagues in the state.