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Public access to information about the services and quality of care in public hospitals: the need for methodologic clarity. A survey of 44 university hospital directors and administrators



Public access to information about the services and quality of care in public hospitals: the need for methodologic clarity. A survey of 44 university hospital directors and administrators



Presse Medicale 35(3 Pt 1): 388-392



For the past eight years, the Ministry of Health has released information about the services and quality of care in public hospitals, in response to the increasing concern about hospital performance expressed by patient associations. The press publishes hospital ratings based on this information. This survey asked hospital administrators about their views of communication on this topic. This survey, conducted from 7 October through 20 November 2004, sent a two-page open questionnaire to a variety of hospital executive personnel - medical directors, chief administrators, medical school deans, and public information officers - to determine their views on this subject. The response rate was 34%. Without contesting either the legitimacy of the expectation for information or the transparency owed to patients, health professionals expressed the need to know in advance the "rules of the game" and the methodology of the rating techniques to be used. Most reported few changes in their professional behavior due to these publications, the methodology and criteria of which they contested. They suggested changes including different criteria and indicators for the rating, the ability to contest the conclusions drawn from the PMSI data, and the need for preliminary work to define criteria by working groups composed of physicians, other professionals, and even those outside the health field. On the other hand, only half were willing to participate in such a working group. These hospital managers see a need for specialists in the analysis of hospital data, who can clarify the meaning of the statistics and improve the public's understanding of them, now shaped by the mass media's failure to provide meaningful analysis.

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Accession: 050071158

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PMID: 16550127


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