Health care information can be overwhelming to consumers, sometimes making decisions about how to find quality, affordable care difficult. Utah consumers now have a new tool to help them naviage the system; HealthInsight, a Utah non-profit organization devoted to health care quality improvement, has launched a new website, UtahHealthScape www.utahhealthscape.org, that provides a comprehensive source of objective quality information for health consumers.
See Also: Comprehensive Overview of the Affordable Care Act
AARP strongly supports the use of objective, comprehensive information to help consumers make health care decisions, which is also one of the many goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The site, helps patients use data – rather than just a neighbor's or coworker's advice -- to select a health care provider or health plan.
UtahHealthScape was developed in collaboration with a host of local community partners, including AARP Utah, who partnered with HealthInsight to create this resource for the public. Patients can use the site to search for providers by zip code or name, and then compare them on customer service characteristics and performance.
In a keynote speech delivered at Gov. Herbert’s Health Innovation Summit Oct. 2 in Salt Lake City, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt commended HealthInsight’s UtahHealthScape for providing information about health care quality to consumers.
“Information is the key to driving meaningful and positive change in the health sector and a web portal is the way to do it. The information portal from HealthInsight is a giant step in the right direction,” Leavitt said.
Some of the main features of UtahHealthScape include:
- A physician, hospital and health plan directory
- Consumer-friendly icons that describe key provider and health plan service offerings
- Detailed information regarding hospital quality of care and comparison features
- Quality and patient satisfaction data reporting for health plans
- Easy-to-understand information on a variety of health topics and self-management practices
“This one-stop shop website offers a broad range of information about healthcare quality in Utah,” Christie North, Vice President of Programs for HealthInsight explained. “UtahHealthScape is a first step in making the healthcare system more transparent to consumers, and it is my hope that it will help people in making more informed decisions about their health care.”
The data on the site are obtained from a variety of reputable sources, including state and federal government agencies, as well as private health organizations. Developed by HealthInsight as a community public service, UtahHealthScape is non-commercial and will not feature paid advertising.
AARP Utah and AARP Nevada serve on the Board of Trustees for HealthInsight in their respective states and provide advice to the organization on consumer transparency issues and health information privacy, among other issues. HealthInsight is the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico, and works with the AARP national office on quality improvement measures.
This effort at the state level complements AARP’s participation alongside leading groups representing doctors, hospitals and consumer advocates at the Consumer Health IT Summit in September, hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.
“AARP is committed to helping our members and all older Americans have the best resources to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President. “Health information technology presents a great opportunity to help individuals stay more connected and engaged with their doctors, hospitals and caregivers.”
AARP already offers a range of online easy-to-use tools and information to help individuals better manage their own unique health care needs.
Visitors to AARP online can help themselves and their families stay healthier by:
- Picking up quick tips on how to choose the right doctor or hospital, and how to make sure the health care they receive is actually based on their individual needs
- Getting the facts on the preventive screenings and vaccinations they may need
- Finding out how the price and effectiveness of their prescription drugs compare to alternatives, and getting tips on talking with their doctor or pharmacist