“Panelists for Ranking and Rating: An Update on US News’ Hospital Quality Reporting,” described recent methodological changes to the public reporting program, described how the methodology is likely to develop further, and US News’s General procedures reporting on the first year reflected and conditions.
Key takeaways from the conference session include:
- The US News Health Ranking team plans to expand the best hospitals for common care in 2016 and beyond. Among other changes, the rankings will include new cohorts: aortic valve replacement, abdominal aortic aneurysm, lobectomy and colotomy related to cancer, and obstetric-perinatal outcomes.
- In the future, US News intends to expand the assessment to cover groups of individual physicians and regional health systems or hospitals.
- The panelists emphasized hospitals to be more transparent about their results by reporting data from clinical registries.
Ben Harder, head of health analysis and managing editor of US News & World Report, gave the bulk of the presentation. Harder monitors data usage in the US News suite of decision support tools for healthcare.
Four years ago, US News started Best Regional Hospitals Ranking by metro area and state, to take objective measures of success in providing high quality care to consumers in their communities among hospitals. This year, a new offering, Best Hospital for Common Care, Added another dimension.
Harder described an important component that emerged from common care data: the relationship between Surgery in low-volume hospitals And (but still rare) deaths have increased. “A big part of that picture is suitability,” he said.
The latest Best Regional Hospitals rankings saw several changes in methodology: Common care ratings became a ranking factor, eligibility was limited to general acute care hospitals, and specialty hospitals were ineligible.
Reputation-only specialties – ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology – were abolished by the idea of the best regional hospitals due to lack of objective measurement.
Harder noted that the risk-adjustment model used by the US News ranking team differs from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. One difference is that US news rankings incorporate socioeconomic status in hospital readmission outcomes. Therefore, results for conditions such as joint replacement or COPD may differ between ranking systems.
They addressed current data limitations in the rankings: the use of retrospective data and the lack of diagnostic variables such as body mass index, which may affect patients’ medical and surgical outcomes. He said that access to clinical registries and databases would work to improve public reporting and transparency.
RTI International senior physician and health researcher panelist Murray Olmsted said the process of ensuring accurate data reporting from hospitals was being strengthened further. Olmsted works with the best hospitals and Best Children’s Hospital Ranked as a contractor for US News.
US News’ Geoff Dougarty, senior healthcare researcher, said that US News will fully demonstrate 2016 analytics for in-home common care, another change.
Harder expressed the motivation behind the hospital’s quality ranking: “We are here to help patients make better decisions.”