Websites Fulfill Patient Demand For Hospital Info

    March 22, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Kentucky became the latest state to launch a website containing hospital quality measures and charge information for people to compare between facilities.

The debut of Kentucky’s Health Care Information Center makes it the sixteenth state to make such information available for its citizens. Resource Shelf noted the arrival of this new database, which comes two weeks after California opened a hospital quality rating site.

Kentucky interests your favorite writers here at WebProNews, as this is where we live and work. We’re jealous of the design of the California site, a straightforward approach that asks for a location, gives a list of hospitals, and visually shows how they rate while allowing visitors to look at more information if they wish.

The Kentucky site is pretty good. It’s been developed with what looks like a bureaucratic sensibility; I’m not saying it needed to have pastel colors and rounded corners, but visually it’s pretty obvious Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive weren’t in the approval chain for the look and feel of it.

People have to know which Area Development District contains the hospitals they want. In WebProNews land, Bluegrass is an instinctive choice. An option for selecting by city or zip code would be a lot easier here.

Choose an Inpatient Quality Indicator, then hit the Run button. Easy, but again, not instinctive even though the site explains the steps to generating a report. Anyone who is used to the typical web form approach with a Submit button at the bottom of a page may be glancing around before finding Run at the top left.

Results of a query appear in a table. Green text means a Risk Adjusted Rate of mortality is significantly lower than the national average. Red means significantly higher. Lower is much, much better.

It’s a good first effort on the part of the state. The site needs a lot more work on its user interface; people shouldn’t be able to pull up ugly Crystal Reports-related options like Prompts from the Refresh Data button link, because they will make no sense to the typical citizen.