Medicare agency unveils new hospital comparisons

Patients searching for a hospital will now be able to compare how much they rely on medical imaging procedures, which can carry dangerous levels of radiation.

Information on the procedures has been added to, an online tool that lets users analyze and compare data on patient care from more than 4,700 hospitals across the country.

New updates to the Hospital Compare tool also include information about the quality of care received by patients with suspected heart attacks and data about infection rates following outpatient surgeries.

"This new update to [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services'] Hospital Compare feature will help patients and their families better compare quality at America's hospitals," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "And thanks to this new update this year, for the first time, Medicare patients can see how efficiently facilities use certain types of imaging equipment and keep them safe from exposure to potentially harmful radiation that may not be necessary."