Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance > For Patients

Support for Patients

We are Here to Help.

Today, more than ever, patients are concerned with the quality of health care they receive. In order to make informed decisions and choose the best health care provider for you, in your region, information needs to be at your fingertips. PHCQA has worked to assemble reliable and unbiased data on various conditions like heart attacks, pneumonia, heart failure, and surgical care. These data have been loaded in an easy-to-use tool on our website where you, as a consumer, have the power to explore, and the ability to access important health care information. Our website is updated every three months to insure that you are always viewing the most recent and relevant data available.

You are the Center of Your Care. You Are in Control.

One of the most powerful forces driving improvement in health care is YOU. In a perfect world, high quality health care would exist in every facility, for every condition, at any time it is needed. However, in the real world, health care quality can vary from hospital to hospital and from region to region. This variation in quality represents a challenge for our nation's health care system. PHCQA believes that as a patient, you should play an active role in the care you receive. We want you to be empowered, to ask questions, and to engage in your own care!

Getting Patient-Centered Care

Health care is moving to be more patient-centered, as opposed to physician-centered. Primary care practices are embracing a new approach called the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model which promotes continuous and coordinated care for each patient throughout his/her lifetime to maximize health outcomes. This enables primary care practices (family practices, pediatric practices, internal medicine, etc.) to be accountable for meeting the large majority of each patient's physical and mental health care needs, including prevention and wellness, acute care, and chronic care.

Care about Your Care

There are plenty of reasons for you to care about the care you receive. Some might even surprise you! Read more about the reasons by clicking here or watch the video below:

How Do We Measure Quality?

Health professionals have many different ways to measure quality of care. A quality "measure" or metric, comes from information in a hospital/patient's medical record that is converted into a number, rate, or percentage that shows how well health care providers followed guidelines or delivered care that resulted in a positive outcome. Most quality measures are "evidence-based", that is, based on the best available evidence from research studies and other controlled tests, as well as upon a patient's unique situation.

The majority of the quality measures on the PHCQA website fall into 11 categories: appropriate care, health care associated infections prevention, heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care and infection prevention, consumer assessment, prevention, emergency department, cancer and efficiency.

The quality measures focus on these areas as they represent some of the most commonly measured services hospitals provide. Because measuring health care quality is costly and difficult to produce, a limited number of conditions, treatments, screenings and procedures are evaluated. The majority of measures fall under the process and outcome measures categories.

Where can I get more quality information?

Other measures of quality are available for various hospitals at one or more of the following sites:

  • Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4): This is an independent state agency responsible for addressing the problem of escalating health costs, ensuring the quality of health care, and increasing access for all citizens regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health: A state government department which measures and reports health care-associated infections and other safety and compliance topics.
  • Hospital Compare: Federal government site which offers national data on hospital quality and timeliness of care.
  • Physician Compare: Federal government's physician directory with information on Medicare-enrolled physicians and health care professionals.
  • Quality Check: Run by the independent nonprofit, The Joint Commission, provides data on timeliness and quality of care measures, as well as patient safety.
  • The Leapfrog Group: This nonprofit organization provides data on patient safety and other quality information from hospital surveys.
  • Choosing Wisely: A campaign run by the American Board of Internal Medicine that aims to inform patients and physicians about appropriate care delivery.
  • The Simple Dollar: A personal finance website that includes a comprehensive resource on health insurance coverage in the U.S.