Delivering a Consumer-Centric Quality and Safety Experience

May 2, 2017

// By Amber Welch //

Amber Welch, director of digital content for Ochsner Health SystemNeed to book a hotel? Customer ratings and reviews are just a click away. Shopping for a car? You can easily compare features and overall quality on Consumer Reports. Looking for a new yoga class?  Read the reviews.

But what about choosing a hospital, perhaps the most important purchase in your life? For the few hospital websites that do feature quality data, you typically have to dig deep within the site only to find complex data organized by health policies using insider jargon and some pretty confusing charts.

While this information—and the format it is presented in—is extremely valuable to hospital administration, it is far less valuable to the everyday consumer. It’s no wonder that just a few years ago, only 14 percent of internet users consulted hospital reviews and ratings online[1]. And another report showed that some patients might not even recognize the possibility that quality may differ from one hospital to the next[2]. There is a huge gap in consumer education around quality and safety data, and the current methods of communicating it don’t seem to be doing the trick.

ochsner-health-system-logoSo, in 2016 at Ochsner Health System, we began to question this status quo. In light of increasing consumerism in which patients have a greater voice in where they choose to seek care, we asked, “Why wouldn’t we allow our health consumers the same experience they get when evaluating the quality and safety of cars on Consumer Reports? Why wouldn’t we allow the same ease of access to the quality of healthcare organizations?”

Over the next few months we worked with White Rhino to rethink the quality and safety data experience for Ochsner consumers. Now, in addition to checking the box to publish quality and safety data on our website, we deliver a consumer-friendly and interactive experience that provides information to help make better decisions about where they seek care. Here’s a brief look at our journey and what we learned along the way.

How many of us spend time poring over the CMS hospital compare website? Are infection and mortality rates really our number one concern, or are we hoping for information that is a little more tailored to our definition of quality? Ochsner Health didn’t want to guess. They went straight to consumers to find out. In this article, Amber Welch, director of digital content at Ochsner, shares the thinking that went into Oschner’s quality initiative, the resulting solution, and some surprising (positive) outcomes.

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