Michael Millenson had this response to a commenter in the thread on his recent post looking at web sites that offer the public data about provider performance. (' Just OK Quality or the Best? ')
"Why does HealthGrades get so many more visitors than HospitalCompare? I think you're correct that it's because of promotion, but the context is the magnitude. HealthGrades constantly promotes, via Google-sense ads, via press releases to the trade and mainstream media, via the ads taken out by hospitals touting their ratings and via search engine maximization. And they've done this for many years, acting as if their economic future depends on it (which it does). The government promotes its site kind of the way you see those "stop smoking" public service announcements.
More broadly, HealthGrades catches consumer attention because it provides outcome information for specific medical problems. Until recently, CMS data was all wonky process stuff. And, even now, as I noted, the site is not all that consumer friendly.
On the other hand, CMS does achieve an implicit goal — not getting any hospitals so angry that some Congressman or Senator starts endangering its funding. So, you see, CMS employees also act as if their jobs depended on what they do."