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Tracking Performance of Health Care

May 15, 2012

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that a new Web-based tool will make it easier for all Americans to monitor and measure how the nation’s healthcare system is performing.

The tool, known as the Health System Measurement Project, will allow policymakers, providers, and the public to develop consistent data-driven views of changes in critical U.S. health system indicators.

”I am pleased that this tool will allow people to have better access to data about our health care system,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Ensuring all Americans have access to these data is an important way to make our health care system more open and transparent.”

The Health System Measurement Project brings together datasets from across the federal government that span topical areas, such as access to care, cost and affordability, prevention and health information technology. It presents these indicators by population characteristics, such as age, sex, income level, insurance coverage, and geography.

Using the Measurement Project, one can quickly view data on a given topical area from multiple sources, compare trends across measures and compare national trends with those at the state and regional level. For example, an individual could use the Measurement Project to monitor the percentage of people who have a specific source of ongoing medical care or track avoidable hospitalizations for adults and children by region or ethnic group.

The measures included in the Health System Measurement Project, developed and selected by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, are aligned with the HHS Strategic Plan, the National Quality Strategy, and other departmental strategic planning efforts. The measures are drawn primarily from existing publicly available datasets. The tool contains information on how the measures were calculated and provides users with direct links back to the original data sources.

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