Care Compare streamlines the eight Compare websites CMS offers to aid patient care access decision-making.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially launched Care Compare, a patient-facing website that streamlines all the CMS Compare websites and intends to help patients make more informed decisions about care access.
Specifically, Care Compare will combine the eight Compare websites, including sites like Hospital Compare and Nursing Home compare, to make the process for accessing care easier for patients and their family caregivers.
Previously, a patient planning a medical procedure would have to manually bounce between the different CMS Compare websites. Someone scheduling a bypass surgery would have to toggle between Hospital Compare, Nursing Home Compare, and Home Health Compare on their own, the agency offered as an example.
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This process could be confusing or burdensome for a patient.
“President Trump has long recognized that a free and vibrant healthcare market is one in which patients have what they need to make informed decisions based on cost and quality,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “By aggregating all eight of CMS’ quality tools into a single interface, patients can easily research different providers and facilities before they entrust themselves to their care. Today’s launch of Care Compare is the next step in fulfilling our eMedicare promise. Our Administration is committed to ensuring our tools are robust and beneficial to patients.”
This effort builds on previous ones to make the care access decision-making process easier for patients, CMS added. All eight of the CMS compare websites — which include hospital, home health, nursing home, hospice, inpatient rehabilitation facility, long-term care hospital, doctors and other professional, and dialysis facility compare — were designed to give patients and their loved ones the information necessary to make a care access decision.
These websites display information about key quality measures that should help patients determine which facilities align with their care needs and goals.
Care Compare will not alter the quality measures by which these websites list organizations, but it will revamp the way patients interact with them, CMS said. Designed with public feedback to the 2018 eMedicare initiative, which also sought to revamp how patients compare medical providers, Care Compare aims to be user-centered.
CMS has optimized the Care Compare interface for both mobile and tablet use. Users accessing Care Compare via a smartphone will have immediate links to provider numbers, with the intention that this will make it easier for patients to call a provider they may want to visit.
Additionally, Care Compare will offer patients and their loved ones guides for assessing organization quality. For example, a patient searching for a nursing home can access a checklist of questions that they may consider during the selection process.
CMS said it plans to keep its eight existing Compare websites live during this transition process, allowing the agency to refine Care Compare as CMS obtains user feedback.
In addition to launching Care Compare, CMS has also unveiled updates to separate tools the agency also intends to help patients make decisions about care access. The Procedure Price Lookup (PPL) tool, for example, will not include both physician and facility fees for certain procedures, which CMS said will make it easier for patients to know the full out-of-pocket cost for a health visit.
A new price transparency tool launched under the eMedicare initiative also aims to give patients a better idea of their own healthcare financial responsibility.
CMS likewise added a slew of tools to make it easier for patients to assess Medicare plans. The agency has redesigned the Medicare Plan Finder tool, the “What’s Covered” app aims to tell patients what will be included as part of their traditional Medicare plan, and an online chat feature will provide real-time support for Medicare shoppers.
Finally, the agency has launched an interactive online decision support tool that can help patients better understand the differences between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
Source: Patientengagement Hit