Military Health System Online Transparency Site Launch

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(original article link here)

Patients who use military hospitals and clinics will find it easier to see how their facility is performing thanks to June 28 changes by the Military Health System to its transparency website.

The MHS has put military hospital and clinic quality, safety, and patient satisfaction information online for years, but not always in ways that could be easily found or understood. The recent changes to the site are a good first step to fixing that problem, said Dr. Jill Sterling, co-chair of the MHS Transparency Initiative Group.

“We put all of our public data on health.mil after the Secretary of Defense review in 2014, and added additional measures when Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act,” said Sterling. “Making so much information public from so many sources as fast as we did meant there wasn’t much time to design with the user in mind. The site wasn’t very easy to use.”

The website improvements include:

  • Each military hospital and clinic now has a landing page where patients can see all the data in one place. In the past, patients had to download multiple spreadsheets and search for their facility.
  • Users can find a U.S. hospital or clinic by ZIP code search. Users can find any hospital or clinic that reports data, including those overseas, through a name search.
  • Users can compare up to three nearby hospitals or clinics on one custom report.
  • MHS data managers now have a flexible system that lets them update performance measures. They can also add new measures and remove old ones that are no longer used. In the past, adding a new measure could take months. Now MHS can make most changes in days or weeks.

“We think the improvements we just made are a good step forward. However, it is just one step forward. We still have work to do, and we’re looking for feedback from users to improve how we share that data,” said Sterling.

The new site includes a random sample survey of users to help the MHS get feedback from patients. The site also includes a way for users to send feedback by email. MHS plans to have volunteers perform user testing at several military hospitals and clinics. This will ensure patients have a say in future improvements.

Users can visit the site directly, or go to the main landing page of the health.mil website and click a link to the MHS Transparency pages. Individual military hospital and clinic websites will also link to the transparency site from their webpages.

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