The CMS announced Thursday that the eight online tools designed for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers to make healthcare choices will be combined later this year.
The agency said the changes will allow users to have a "streamlined experience" on Medicare.gov.
Right now, patients and families must use different interfaces on the Medicare website based on the care setting they are interested in. The CMS has the option, called Compare tools, for hospitals, nursing homes, home health, dialysis centers, long-term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation, physicians and hospice groups.
The tools allow patients to look up organizations or physicians and their respective quality data.
The CMS said the independent functionality of each Compare tool "makes them difficult and challenging to navigate." Additionally, some of the tools look different than others. The CMS said the changes will offer more consistency in terms of "look and feel."
The agency plans on reaching out to stakeholders in the coming weeks to get their feedback on the changes before the website launches. Stakeholders include patients and providers. The CMS said it will continue to make changes before and after the launch "as part of our iterative improvement process."
The American Hospital Association was optimistic about the potential changes.
"The AHA is a longstanding supporter of transparency around quality information and we look forward to learning more about this proposed redesign," said Nancy Foster, AHA's vice president of quality and patient safety policy, in a statement.
She added that the healthcare industry has changed significantly since Hospital Compare launched in 2005 and "this redesign effort may provide an opportunity to modernize how quality data are shared with the public."
In addition to the changes to Medicare.gov, the CMS announced it's working on developing a new online portal to access CMS data. According to the agency, the new interface will have "intuitive search features to allow users to easily search and download CMS's publicly reported data, better serving stakeholders who use the interactive and downloadable datasets."
The new interface will be on CMS.gov.