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The Arizona Department of Health Services is launching an online database to help consumers make informed decisions about their healthcare.

The new website, AZ Hospital Compare, will allow people to research hospital costs and view information on things like reinfection rates and associated infections.

"Really for the first time, it will provide transparency not only around costs, but also performance issues that matter to everyone," said Will Humble, department director.

For example, expectant mothers can look for a hospital that excels in uncomplicated newborn deliveries.

The database will include more than 70 hospitals in Arizona. Patients who are paying out of pocket can also use it to find out what different hospitals charge for various procedures.

Humble said the transparency of the website will benefit the overall public health system.

"That transparency will end up resulting in better care because if a hospital has embarrassing results, they're going to take more measures to move the dial over the next year," he said.

The hospital reports are generated by a web development tool created by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The information is based on discharge rates and quality indicator measures taken from Arizona hospital discharge data.

For more information on AZ Hospital Compare, visit the ADHS website.

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