Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Very Brief Blog: Quick Tour of CMS Online Hospital Data

From time to time I need to research CMS data files on hospital performance, and it's usually a bit of a trick to find it again.  A brief outline here.

  • First, CMS has a simple consumer facing website for quickly looking up data at a local hospital or two.  It's called Hospital Compare - here and here.
  • If you want to navigate big Excel files, you'll go the professional site, data.cms.gov.   This gives you categorical entry points like doctors, home health, hospitals, etc.  Find it here.
  • I clicked on the Hospital data website and I went to the bottom of the page to show 50 (rather than 5) sources once.  Here.

For example, if you're interested in hospital acquired infection (HAI) data, scroll down till you find "Healthcare Associated Infections - Hospital" as a title.  This gives you a 175,000 line Excel dataset.


The 32 megabyte 175,000 line Excel looks like this:

For example, for Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, AL, their MRSA data is no different than national and their CDIFF data is "better than national."

For more info on "hospital acquired conditions" (HAC) rules and metrics or specifically a subset which are "hospital acquired infections" (HAI), some websites are here:

(For example, an inpatient hospital acquired skin ulcer or hip fracture would be HAC's that are not HAI's.)


If you enter the website a certain way, it allows you to go to a "beta" new version of cms.data.gov, but when I tried that, it terrified me and it seemed like data categories and files would become much harder to find that the current hierarchy.   The system they have now is kind of boring and tedious, but the new system "beta" seemed like a confusing form of modernization.