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Web Report Card To Show Which Hospitals Make The Grade

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A new health report card will soon let the public know which hospitals make the grade.

"The idea is that patients can pull up the Web site and get information they can understand," said Dr. George Sheldon, chief of surgery at UNC Hospitals.

Sheldon helped create the Internet-based hospital reporting system designed to let the public know which medical centers best follow treatment guidelines.

Ideally, patient care in a coronary care unit should be the same at all hospitals, according to Sheldon. The report card will show which hospitals are following accepted treatment guidelines.

The first phase of the program will focus on three common conditions: heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. Sheldon said most hospitals already have records of that information.

"It's just that you can't get to it in a given place and it isn't standard," he said.

The program will be voluntary, but Sheldon expects most hospitals will take part.

"There's going to be a lot of peer pressure. On the other hand, I don't think a lot of hospitals will have a problem with it," he said.

The data is currently being compiled for the database. The information is scheduled to be available on the

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

site by summer.