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IHS Launches Health Transparency Website
The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services, has launched a new website that reports on the quality of care provided to American Indian and Alaska Native patients. The website is located at http://www.ihs.gov/NonMedicalPrograms/quality/.
This Quality of Care website was developed in support of Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13410,
Promoting Quality and Efficient Health Care in Federal Government Administered or Sponsored Health Care Programs. This EO promotes health transparency in the government by charging federal health care programs with providing specific information on quality of care measures to the public.
In support of this health transparency initiative, the IHS, Veterans Administration (VA), and Department of Defense (DoD) have identified a set of clinical performance measures to be made available through the internet. Each performance measure has been synchronized within the three agencies, to the extent possible given the differences of the patient populations served. For 2008 the IHS is reporting seven of these measures in the categories of diabetes, immunizations, pneumonia, asthma, and stroke. In 2009, two other immunizations and three cardiovascular disease-related measures will be added.
This website will allow IHS patients to compare the performance of the IHS facility where they receive care to the performance of other IHS facilities within their geographical area. The site also includes 24 performance measures the IHS reports annually to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress under the Government Performance and Results Act. Currently these measures are reported only at the national level, and therefore are not comparable at the facility level.
In addition to IHS performance measures, the website also provides information to help patients advocate for their own health care. A checklist is available containing important items to be discussed with the patient’s health care provider to ensure they are receiving the proper care, such as family history of disease, current medications, and immunizations and procedures they received at other health care facilities.