Boeing Frontiers
October 2003
Volume 02, Issue 06
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Main Feature
Rising with the Sun

Boeing people have new resources to help make knowledgeable choices

No matter what your profession, craft, hobby or sport, having the right tools can make a significant difference in the outcome. But do you have the right tools to know your choices for your personal medical care or the quality of different doctors and hospitals? What's more important than your health?

If you're a Boeing person with U.S.-based benefits, this fall you'll have access to information to help maximize the care you receive from medical providers. Starting the week of Oct. 20, Boeing is providing new online resources to review quality or "scorecard" data on doctors, hospitals and nursing homes. These tools will be available on Boeing "Your Benefits Resources" site on the World Wide Web (

Even if you're happy with your doctor or hospital, it's a good idea to learn more about how your current providers measure up to others in your area. Also, your doctor likely has affiliations with more than one hospital, so you may have a choice of facilities if you need hospital care. The choice of providers is yours.

HealthGrades®, an Internet-based provider of health care quality information, gathers and manages the data. At no cost to employees, most Boeing people will have access to

  • Profiles on thousands of physicians, covering education and training, hospital affiliations, and professional conduct.
  • Performance ratings for most hospitals in the United States.
  • Nursing home quality guides that summarize state inspections and complaints.

HealthGrades Hospital Quality Guide uses a five-star system to rate more than 5,000 U.S. hospitals by medical specialty. So what's the difference between a five-star and a one-star hospital? Five-star hospitals have shown death rates that are

  • Three times lower for coronary bypass surgery.
  • Two times lower for treating heart attacks.
  • Three times lower for treating stroke.
  • Five times lower for abdominal aneurisms.

HealthGrades develops ratings and profiles, using both public and private data. The details about its grading methodologies and types of data are posted on the "Your Benefits Resources" site. HealthGrades subscribes to the Health On the Net Foundation Code of Conduct, which requires Web developers to follow certain ethical standards in presenting health care information and disclosing its source and purpose.

In addition, HealthGrades is the technology partner of The Leapfrog Group, a national coalition that represents 147 large health care purchasers. Its mission is to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety and overall value of health care for American consumers.

Boeing is a charter member of The Leapfrog Group, which has identified the following three safety practices aimed at reducing medical errors, improving patient quality, and ultimately saving lives:

  • Avoiding drug errors. Studies show that a computerized prescription system can reduce serious medication mistakes by up to 86 percent.
  • Tracking procedure/condition experience. Rates of survival and recovery will be improved by making information about hospitals' expertise in treating specific conditions more widely available.
  • Intensive care unit staffing. Physicians specially trained to care for critically ill patients should staff intensive care units. Studies show that at least one in 10 patients who die every year in ICUs might have survived if intensive-care specialists had been managing their care for at least eight hours per day.

Choosing a hospital that follows patient safety guidelines can lessen the chances that a medical error will affect you.

These doctor and hospital profiles will be available at all times, and not just during the Boeing benefits annual enrollment period. You may want to use them in instances such as when you

  • Are getting a second opinion on a medical test/procedure.
  • Have moved and need a doctor/hospital in your area.
  • Are considering hospitals for specialized medical treatment.
  • Are preparing to have a baby.
  • Need your child to undergo a back-to-school or sports physical exam.
  • Are looking for a nursing home for a loved one.

You should feel confident in asking your doctor questions. Not sure where to start, especially if you are in good health? During this fall's enrollment, Boeing is providing an Ask-the-Doctor checklist and wallet cards as tools to help you. The company will insert them into the back pocket of the 2003 Fall Enrollment Decision Guide.

Boeing employees and their families also have the new Boeing-Mayo Clinic Web site ( that provides questions to ask, information on conditions and treatment options, and programs to help you manage asthma, diabetes, heart disease, back pain and other chronic conditions.

Kari Rankins, who works in human resources at World Headquarters, used this site to learn about her carpal tunnel syndrome before going to the doctor. During the visit, her primary doctor only told her about surgery; however, she asked about cortisone steroid injections. The doctor said those could work for Rankins, who's now on that treatment with a wrist brace for support. She also has adjusted her office space for better ergonomics.

"I think this Web site is very informative, easy to navigate, and makes me feel like I can talk with the doctor intelligently about my condition. The diagrams of the hand and wrist have been really helpful," she said. "For Boeing to go out of its way to provide this resource to employees and their families shows me that the company truly cares about people."

People should not rely exclusively on only one informational resource to make decisions about their health—but instead should use a variety of tools, in addition to talking with providers and family members.



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