Courtesy of CT-N

HARTFORD, CT — A new web tool released by the Office of Health Strategy Wednesday is expected to help consumers assess the quality of hospitals and provider networks.

The Healthscore CT website, which went live Wednesday, currently helps consumers see how well healthcare systems and hospitals score on quality measures ranging from breast and cervical screening to timely care.

The scorecard employs a five-star system to rate healthcare organizations on 30 health measures as determined by the State Innovation Model Quality Council—an advisory body made up of consumer advocates, providers, community organizations, state agencies, and payers. The health measures cover 10 areas including behavioral health, child health, women’s health, chronic conditions, and preventive health.

The scorecard uses information from nearly 465,000 patients of 19 accountable care organizations throughout Connecticut.

The cost estimator feature, which won’t be available until September, will also help consumers compare prices of popular procedures giving consumers information they need to ask more questions of medical providers and insurance companies.

“We are all healthcare consumers at one point or another in our lives,” Office of Health Strategy Executive Director Vicki Veltri said. “Healthscore CT gives people the resources to make better healthcare decisions and gives providers an opportunity to improve the cost and quality of the care they deliver.”

Veltri said she’s excited about the cost estimator feature.

“The cost differential between provider networks is informative,” Veltri said. “For example, an MRI at provider X is $590 and at provider Y it is over $1,000—same diagnostic test, significant cost difference. High cost does not necessarily mean good quality, and this website helps consumers sort that out. This information is a good starting point for conversations with your healthcare provider, and this site will continue to evolve to serve consumers.”

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz who attended the debut of the site Wednesday said “it’s important that everyone understand how healthcare providers score on quality and cost of services they provide, and this new user-friendly online tool will make that possible.”

She said she wants to make sure people know about the website and use it.

There’s no money available to market the site.

The site was funded by a small portion of a four-year $45 million grant from the federal government as part of Connecticut’s state innovation model.