June 30, 2011; Source: Sctimes.com | The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wants to help relieve people in communities nationwide of the guesswork in determining the quality of their local doctors and hospitals. A newly launched online service provides links to over 200 reports that contain information on whether doctors and hospitals deliver good or bad care. 

These reports detail whether patients received recommended tests and treatment, the outcomes of their care, their experience with providers and the overall cost of care. In a statement, RWJF Foundation Senior Vice President Dr. John R. Lumpkin said, “Measuring the quality and cost of our health care and making it publicly available enables those who give, receive and pay for care to make the right choices for them, to improve health care and lower costs." 

Putting this kind of data online so healthcare consumers can make better choices is part of a growing trend, according to Sctimes.com. It notes that a recent study found 80 percent of internet users look for health information online. “I think we’re going to see continuing development of more and more useful information for consumers to see that there are differences in outcomes . . . and actually monitoring that and thinking about it helps to improve the marketplace, so to speak, of what you’re going to get,” said Jim Chase, president of Minnesota Community Measurement.—Bruce S. Trachtenberg