SHOW ME THE RECORDS: Hospital Compare data takes an inside look at hospitals

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | 12:01 a.m. CST

Each week, the Missourian highlights a government record that is available to the public. Open records help people keep government in check and help them better understand how government affects their lives.

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The records: Hospital Compare data on patient care and satisfaction.

Why you'd want them: These records can help you find quality hospital care by comparing hospitals in your area. You can compare up to three hospitals at a time, and you can narrow your search to find the information that is most relevant to you. 

The comparison includes information about the care process, the outcome of care and patient satisfaction.

You can do a general search of the hospitals you're comparing, or you can do a specific search based on a type of medical condition, such as heart attack or chronic lung disease, or a type of treatment, such as heart bypass or joint replacement.

Some of the comparisons are listed in terms of percentages. For example, at Boone Hospital Center, at least 95 percent of heart surgery patients had their blood sugar kept under good control in the days following surgery. Through MU Health Care, that number was 98 percent.

To get a glimpse of the hospitals from the patient perspective, you can look at the results of a survey about patients' experiences. That includes information about patient satisfaction with staff communication, pain management, room cleanliness, instructions about recovery and other aspects of a hospital stay. At both Boone Hospital Center and through MU Health Care, for example, close to 70 percent of patients reported that their room and bathroom were "always" clean.

Where you get them: Go to, and type your zip code in the search box. Click the bubble next to the type of search you want to do — general, medical conditions or surgical procedures — and click "Find Hospitals." After the list of hospitals appear, click the boxes next to the ones you'd like to compare and click "Compare." Click through the tabs on the left side of the screen to see different categories of information.

How much it will cost: These records are free.

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