Hospital quality and safety reports have been made available online for the first time.

This information has been made available to the public online at  www.hospitalinspections.org. Anyone can search the quality and safety of many of the nation’s hospitals. Information includes detailed reports of hospital violations dating back to January 2011, searchable by city, state, name of the hospital and key word.  The site currently lists 43 violation reports from Indiana hospitals.

The database also reveals national trends in hospital errors. For example, key word searches yield the incidence of certain violations across all hospitals. A search on the word “abuse,” for example, yields 862 violations at 204 hospitals since 2011.

Previously, these reports were filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and released only through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Once they receive a complaint, federal and state inspectors attempt to discover the cause of a hospital error or violation. When the causes of specific problems are determined, federal and state authorities require hospitals to file a plan to correct them. These plans still remain under wraps, as well as inspection reports on psychiatric hospitals and long-term care hospitals.

Also unavailable are the results of complaint-based and routine inspections by the nation’s largest private hospital accreditation organization, The Joint Commission. Because the commission is a private entity, it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.