The United States Department of Health and Human Services website provides information on home health care. Data is collected on Medicare patients from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Home health care offers a range of skilled care such as: medical social services, physical therapy, and nursing. They aid the patient with doctor’s orders (i.e. assistance with medication dosages).
Several quality measures are administered to inform the public on home health care services. These are outcome measures that are updated quarterly. Three of the quality measures are based on improvement. The next four measures are on the patient’s activity of daily living. Another measure looks at the home health care after it is completed. The final two measures pertain to the patient’s medical emergencies. There can be difficult to interpret the data since there is reverse scoring on some of the measures (the lower a score is-the better). For example, measures on “patients who need urgent, unplanned medical care” the lower the percentage the better. Looking at “patients who get better at bathing”, the higher the percentage the better.
The data is collected and stored in two databases. The Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) and the Quality Improvement Evaluation System (QIES). The OASIS manages the home health quality measures, while the QIES illustrates data on home health care agencies. About every 2 months, CMS updates these two databases.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services also consists of information comparing nursing homes that are Medicare and Medicaid certified. They offer data on the skilled nursing care of nursing homes. Records are collected from two sources. The CMS has an online survey, certification, and reporting database (OSCAR), carrying information on nursing home characteristics and health deficiencies. The second (national) database is the Minimum Data Set (MDS), which contain the quality measures. The OSCAR database is updated on a monthly base while the MDS is updated quarterly.
Quality data is analyzed by using residential assessments (evaluation of the patients health and needs while in the facility). They also have data available on the patient’s physical and clinical conditions. Quality measures are utilized on the assessment data. The results inform nursing homes on methods to improve their quality of care. For example, the quality measures provide information about the care of nursing homes, allowing patients/relatives to choose a facility most suitable.