A report on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' efforts to release survey results on individual facilities shows it hasn't found a format that's both acceptable to hospitals and useful to payers and employees.
The April 8 progress report also said the commission is recommending against giving organizations a chance to submit comments with individual reports.
Last year, the JCAHO board authorized the disclosure of organization-specific information on compliance with accreditation standards. The disclosures, set to begin later this year, will apply to organizations surveyed this year. Results from individual surveys will be compared with results of all facilities surveyed.
The JCAHO should accredit about 270 hospitals by July, a large enough sample to make industry comparisons valid, said John Laing, the JCAHO's vice president of marketing and external relations. Reports should be available to the public in late fall, he said.
The report was compiled by Mr. Laing and Gail Weinberger, director of accreditation policy and administration. It summarized a series of 14 conference calls in the last two months of 1993 with institution and state hospital representatives in 10 states, as well as recommendations based on the conference calls by a JCAHO task force and by the commission's board.
Participants were asked to choose one of four proposed formats for presenting a provider's overall performance, its score by category and a comparison with all similar accredited organizations.
The JCAHO couldn't get a consensus on any format. In general, providers thought the explanations of the accreditation scoring were "far too complex and lengthy" and wouldn't be understood by the public, according to the memo.
Business representatives contacted by the JCAHO also said most people wouldn't understand the proposed reports. They added that presenting information with graphs and charts would be more effective than reproducing lists of numbers.
Provider representatives suggested including an executive summary along with the detailed data on standards compliance. There was uniform support for presenting all information and not just areas in which facilities need to improve.
Although the JCAHO doesn't plan to let organizations add comments to individual disclosures, providers will be notified when their reports are requested and by whom so they can contact the inquiring party and offer comments, Mr. Laing said.
The commission plans to let organizations submit a two-page commentary with their survey results in a proposed annual publication of all reports on standards compliance, Mr. Laing said.