NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 20, 2005

The Internet's role in health care is reaching a new stage. The 1990s brought general information sites such as WebMD (HLTH ) and Now Subimo and a host of services provide specific data people can use to help them choose hospitals, doctors and health plans, says BusinessWeek's Timothy J. Mullaney.

According to a survey by Solucient:

  • Some 26 percent of adults would "very likely" use information on the quality of hospitals.
  • About 66 percent say they would switch hospitals based on information about hospital quality, even over their doctor's objections.

Currently, several online services are available that enable patients to obtain quality data on hospitals:

  • provides data on hospital complication rates, costs and technology availability based on a 0-to-100 rating system, but information on physicians is limited to where they attended medical school.
  •, run by insurance provider UnitedHealth Group, provides slightly more detailed information than Subimo; but physicians designated as "premium" are based on questionnaires completed by doctors.
  • provides a user-friendly star rating system; basic hospital information is free, while more detailed reports are $9.95.
  • is a site run by Medicare and compares hospital quality and performance to other hospitals state and nationwide, but the data is limited to how hospitals treat heart problems and pneumonia.

Source: Timothy J. Mullaney, "Hunting for Hospitals that Measure Up," BusinessWeek, June 13, 2005.

For hospital databases:


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