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This Website Is Basically Yelp for Hospitals

Using websites like Yelp, people can look up ratings and reviews for virtually any restaurant or bar. But what about hospitals, where the quality of treatment is far more important than checking whether the Caesar salad is any good.

On Wednesday, a new website premiered that lets you check how good a hospital is. But instead 0f relying on reviews by the public, it rates hospitals based on data from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, which collects information about all medical facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds.

People can pull up the profile of most any hospital in the country to see its strengths, weaknesses, and overall grade. Most of the information is focused on three areas: the hospital's emergency room, patient satisfaction, and in-patient cost efficiency.

For example, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles got a C+ overall grade, and ranks in the 34th percentile in the country. Massachusetts General Hospital, located in Boston, fared a bit better, earning a B- and ranking in 44th percentile.

Brent Newhouse, co-founder of analyticsMD, the startup that created the index, explained that he chose to narrow the focus to a few areas like emergency rooms, for example, because "emergencies are often the first place we interact with hospitals.” Doing so also made it easier for his company to create the index and for regular people to navigate it.

Similar ratings are also available through iVantage's Hospital Strength Index, which also uses data from CMS, among other sources.

AnalyticsMD, a two-year-old startup from Palo Alto, Calif., has built software that helps hospitals make their operations more efficient. It uses data to provide hospital administrators and staffers with suggestions like how to avoid patient bottlenecks and schedule staff. Among the company's handful of paying hospital customers are El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., and Mercy Health Hospitals, which haw several locations in the US.

For analyticsMD co-founders, Newhouse and Mudit Garg, building the hospital index has two purposes. One goal is to provide a yardstick for hospital administrators to not only take a step back and see how they're doing, but also compare their performance to their peers. The other goal is to make hospital quality and efficiency a priority for both patients and health care providers.

“If we can get this out to folks, we can get a conversation started,” Newhouse said.

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