A Very Transparent, Informative Healthcare Site

Curious about how a hospital staffs the unit in which you or a loved one is receiving care? Want to know what types of nurses and assistive personnel are assigned to that unit? Does your floor have access to a Rapid Response Team or a hospitalist? All good questions, right?

Or how about this important question: if a hospital says it plans to staff a unit way and then it actually staffs it differently, how would you know?

The answer to all of those questions – and more – for 713 individual units, including emergency departments, at 82 hospitals across the state are available on the PatientCareLink website. And they have been there in plain view for the past 11 years.

PatientCareLink is the most transparent such website in the U.S. and it was the first in the country where hospitals voluntarily reported the information as opposed to being mandated to do so by government.  You don’t need to log-in to the site or provide personal data to review the hospital information.

“The entire caregiving team is vital to providing safe and high quality care, and PCL’s staffing reports can help patients and families better understand the importance of all personnel involved in their care,”  said Pat Noga, R.N., MHA’s V.P. of clinical affairs. “The staffing section of the PCL site has comments from a number of the hospitals explaining their numbers in greater detail, and it contains multiple years of actual staffing data so patients and the public can get a sense of just how dynamic patient care is, and how hospitals respond to patients’ changing needs.”

Massachusetts hospitals post their planned staffing for each unit once a year and then each March they post actual staffing data. If there is a significant variation between the two figures, the public can read the hospital’s explanation of why the variation occurred.

MHA co-sponsors the PatientCareLink site along with the Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, and the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.

PatientCareLink also includes hospital-specific results on quality performance measures, as well as educational materials to help patients and families with healthcare planning and serious illness care, among many other topics.