American College of Cardiology Establishes Cardiovascular Public Reporting Program

The American College of Cardiology launched a voluntary public reporting program with the National Cardiovascular Data Registry to deliver useful and accurate information to patients.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) launched a cardiovascular public reporting effort using clinical data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) to use high-quality data to fairly and accurately characterize healthcare and deliver useful and understandable information to the public.

Public reports of health care data, quality, and outcomes have been used by the federal government, some state departments, and private organizations for more than a decade. Prior studies suggest that administrative data are market-specific, outdated, or poorly reflect clinical outcomes, and that public reports could include timely data with better quality.

“The most compelling justification for public reporting is the right of an individual to know about the care that he or she is likely to receive,” the ACC wrote in their report. “This has created a ‘market’ for public reporting that, at present, is not well coordinated as different stakeholders have somewhat divergent goals and varying confidence in the utility of nonclinical data sources.”

These stakeholders include not only physicians and patients, but policymakers/politicians and payers as well.

The ACC uses clinical data, provided voluntarily by hospitals, with scientifically open methodology that can provide transparent and accurate reporting about the performance of cardiovascular programs for all patients and health care quality organizations. 

The data will be available on the ACC’s CardioSmart website, and will allow users to search hospital name, address, and any cardiac services that the hospital provides.

The program provides facility’s performance scores, rated on a scale from 1 to 4 stars, and all incoming data from participating facilities are checked for missing data within fields and undergo independent chart audits in order to ensure “completeness and consistency” for the public.

However, the ACC recognizes that reporting alone is not enough to encourage improvements in care delivery and therefore will continue to develop Clinical Toolkits as part of the Quality Improvement for Institutions initiative. Every participating facility will have free access to the toolkits. “NCDR data are used to identify gaps in care as priority topics for toolkit development, and the toolkit resources are focused to align specifically with the patient care goals being measured through NCDR,” the authors wrote.

The ACC accepts clinical data from hospitals on a voluntary basis to connect health care facilities with the public community.  Volunteering this information can demonstrate good faith by hospitals to provide high-quality data to help patients make informed decisions.

The ACC notes that future public reporting with NCDR data may integrate validated quality metrics, risk-adjusted clinical outcomes, and composite quality measures across all NCDR registries.


  1. Dehmer GJ, Jennings J, Madden RA et al. The National Cardiovascular Data Registry Voluntary Public Reporting Program: An Interim Report From the NCDR Public Reporting Advisory Group. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015; doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.11.001.