US Hospitals: Timely and Effective Care

Connie Zhang
Posted on Nov 6, 2016


Health care spending has increased dramatically over past decades in the United States, affecting individuals, companies and the government.  Many factors have an impact on the spending, and the major ones include actions of patients, doctors and hospitals. Increasing effort has been made by insurance companies and the government over the years to keep costs under control, while the public pays more attention to the healthcare performance as well.

In this project, we will investigate one of the major players of the healthcare system: the hospital.  The primary functions of hospitals consist of three parts:

  • Medical - treatment and management of patients
  • Patient Support - patient care includes nursing, dietary diagnostics, therapy, pharmacy and laboratory service
  • Administrative - execution of policies related to the hospital governing discharge of support services

We will focus on patient support, and try to shed some insight on how hospitals performed in a timely and effective manner.

The Data and Scope

The data used for this project is from the following link:

This dataset includes provider-level data for measures of  the following cares:

children's asthma care, colonoscopy care, heart failure care, pneumonia care, pregnancy/delivery care, preventive care

And the measurement for those type of care are listed as following:

Children's asthma care :
Home Management Plan of Care Document

Colonoscopy care:
[1] Endoscopy/polyp surveillance: appropriate follow-up interval for normal colonoscopy in average risk patients
[2] Endoscopy/polyp surveillance: colonoscopy interval for patients with a history of adenomatous polyps - avoidance of inappropriate use

Heart failure care:
Evaluation of LVS Function

Pneumonia care:
Initial antibiotic selection for CAP in immunocompetent patient

Preventive care:
[1] Healthcare workers given influenza vaccination
[2] Immunization for influenza

Pregnancy/delivery care:
Percent of newborns whose deliveries were scheduled early (1-3 weeks early), when a scheduled delivery was not medically necessary


The goal of the project is to supply a tool for users interested in the care list above to find information on the hospitals nationwide and ranking within state. The tool was built as a Shiny application using R.


Here are the average score distribution across states for Children Asthma Care, Colonoscopy Care, Heart Failure Care.

childnation                                             colonnation


The horizontal axis is the score range from 0 to 100. The plots show how many states fall within each score range. The plots also show that Children Asthma Care scores are in a wider range which indicates that the quality of care for this medical condition varies greatly across United States hospitals.

The other three score distributions of Pneumonia Care, Preventive Care and Pregnancy/Delivery Care are the following:

pnumination                                         preventnation


The distribution of Pregnancy/Delivery Care shows the lowest score across the nation compared with the others.  These six plots will supply users with information about overall quality for each medical condition across states.

Besides the distributions above, we also supply the distribution through a map format and the top, bottom  , and average ranking on a state level. Here is a snapshot for Children Asthma Care:



We also supply the rankings of hospitals within each state for each care based on requests from users. Here is a snapshot of the function



It will supply users with the available hospital names, addresses, and phone numbers based on the medical care chosen and the state a user selects. The top ranking hospital for each state is supplied upon user request.


We have investigated the quality of healthcare for six medical conditions and provided the distribution of the scores across the United States. We have seen some big variation across different states for some type of care and the data also showed that some states did not have many hospitals participate on some type of care, especially in Children's Asthma Care.


About Author

Connie Zhang

Connie Zhang

Connie Zhang, a marketing specialist, has been working in the field of data analysis since 2010. She holds a Ph.D. in Engineering,MBA and an Associateship of the Society of Actuary in United States.
View all posts by Connie Zhang >

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