Talk of the Nation

Hospitals, school districts benefit from open data

St. Louis Children's Hospital

Driving home the other day I heard a discussion on NPR Talk of the Nation about putting hospital statistics online so people can compare them. I immediately thought that if one substituted the word schools for hospitals the discussion would be the same.

Challenges of comparing high-risk patients to low-risk patients. Check.
Hospitals not being eager to provide data. Check.
Benefits of openness and transparency. Check.
Need to put checks in to prevent hospitals from gaming the system. Check.

The show concluded by the experts agreeing that this is an important but still small first step in accountability, openness and transparency. The biggest benefit comes not from patients being able to compare hospitals but from hospitals sending staff to high-scoring ones to learn from them.

In that spirit, if I were a superintendent in the St. Louis metropolitan area, I would send someone to Fox to find out why they have the highest percentage of free and reduced lunch students in the St. Louis area scoring at proficient or advanced in both math and communications MAP scores.

I chose this picture because I liked it and Children’s is, unfortunately, the hospital I have used the most often as I have three children. The website focuses on acute care and doesn’t include pediatric hospitals like Children’s or Cardinal Glennon even though it has a section for children’s asthma.

Barbie likes math!

Since I have a daughter interested in math, I've been closely following the girls in math topic for awhile. I was ecstatic to hear how well the girls' math olympiad team did in China. More importantly, they had fun. Ira Flatow, of NPR's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday, interviewed the coach and one of the team members in a segment on Women, Girls and Math. In an interesting "comment," Flatow asked the girl if team had been invited to the White House like so many winning sports teams. I think our country's priorities were demonstrated by her answer.