The PatientCareLink (PCL) website,
which allows the public to see how each nursing unit in nearly every Massachusetts hospital is staffed, has been updated with the latest actual staffing reports for FY2017. Budgeted 2017 staffing plans were posted on the site in December of 2017. The constantly changing needs of patients are reflected in the differences between the actual and planned staffing reports.
To view the reports, from the PatientCareLink home page, under “Healthcare Provider Data” click on “2017 Reports” under Massachusetts Hospital Data, Hospital Data/Staffing Plans and Reports.
Web visitors can select specific hospitals and see the actual staffing reports for a total of 713 individual units, including emergency departments, at 82 hospitals across the state. Hospitals also explain any significant variation (+/-5%) from their budgeted staffing plans on the site. This is the 11th year Massachusetts has voluntarily posted hospital staffing information for public access.
“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, PhD, RN, FAAN, Vice President for Clinical Affairs at the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), which co-sponsors the PatientCareLink site along with the Organization of Nurse Leaders for MA, RI, NH, CT, VT (ONL), the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (HCA), and Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI). “This section of the PCL site also contains comments from a number of the hospitals explaining their staffing in greater detail, and multiple years of actual staffing data, so patients and other members of the public can get a sense of just how dynamic patient care is, and how hospitals respond to patients’ changing needs.”
Noga also encouraged web visitors to explore other areas of the PCL site. Additional postings on the PatientCareLink website include hospital-specific results on quality performance measures such as falls, pressure ulcers, and certain nationally recognized best practices, as well as important quality-of-care information for home care agencies in Massachusetts.
For example, the latest available data from Medicare’s Hospital Compare and Home Health Compare are now available for all hospitals in Massachusetts and 86 Bay State home health agencies. Reported CMS measures for home care agencies include timely initiation of care, patient/family medication education, depression assessment, improvement in patient mobility, and more.
To view the updated reports, visit www.patientcarelink.org
and under the “Healthcare Provider Data” tab select either “Massachusetts Hospital Data/Individual Hospital Performance Data/Select a Hospital” or “Home Health Agency Data/ Select an Agency.”
The hospital and home health agency reports now incorporate data for the period April 2016 – March 2017. In addition to each facility or agency’s individual performance, the PCL pages also provide a comparison to state and U.S. “peer” averages.
“The partnership between hospitals and home health agencies on PCL furthers positive working relationships along the entire care continuum, and that can improve patient safety and quality overall,” said Patricia Kelleher, Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of MA. “We’re proud that the PatientCareLink website offers patients and their family members important quality information for Medicare-approved home health agencies that meet certain federal health and safety requirements. It can assist in finding services that fit each patient’s needs.”
The PCL site also includes educational materials for caregivers, patients and families, and special sections featuring clinical success stories. “The entire PatientCareLink website is a great resource for patients, family members and clinicians,” Noga said. “The comprehensive data and complete openness of the site have made it a highly credible resource for staffing and performance reporting. PCL is also a great tool for learning about healthcare quality and becoming more engaged in your own or your loved ones’ care.”