Progress slow on hospital data in IL

When advocates vent over the slow adoption of consumer-driven healthcare spending, one place they should look is Illinois. The problems encountered there in becoming a more consumer-driven health system offer a look at what's likely to come as other states get on board.

While Illinois established laws four years ago intended to gather and publish hospital safety and performance data, to date, none of the projects specified in the legislation has been passed. These include The Illinois Hospital Report Card, which was chartered to document hospital-acquired infections, the Illinois Consumer Guide to Health Care, a study of care and hospitals and surgery centers, and a third study intended to focus on serious medical errors. 

Why are things moving so slowly? Well, for one thing, a consensus was reached that the original legislation was poorly drafted, and ended up being amended--but that took a year. Meanwhile, officials say that they lack adequate funding. In fact, the state's new Division of Patient Safety still has only two employees, and has just now begun ramping up its staff. Then, consider that the state's Department of Public Health has to gather data and subject it to multiple layers of review, and it's hardly surprising things have moved so slowly. Still, given that none of these are unusual problems, it doesn't bode well for the timely progress of similar efforts in other states.

To learn more about the Illinois reporting issue:
- read this piece from the Chicago Tribune

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