U.S. News Releases New Hospital Quality Online Rating System

May 22, 2015 in News

On Wednesday, U.S. News World Report released a new online hospital rating system, which grades the performance of nearly every U.S. hospital on five common surgical procedures and conditions, Modern Healthcare reports (Rice, Modern Healthcare, 5/20).

Rating System Details

The rating system, called Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings, is the largest expansion to U.S. News’ hospital quality analyses since it began publishing its “Best Hospitals” lists 25 years ago, according to a release.

U.S. News created the new ratings to help patients identify nearby facilities that excel in caring for common conditions.

Patients now can use the publication’s website to find any U.S. hospital and see whether it is “High Performing,” “Average,” or “Below Average” for these five procedures and conditions:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Congestive heart failure;
  • Heart bypass;
  • Hip replacement; and
  • Knee replacement (U.S. News release, 5/20).

To assess performance on the five conditions, U.S. News evaluated 4,600 facilities for their performance across more than 25 quality measures — including readmissions, mortality, infections and patient experience scores — and analyzed the records of more than five million patients. The ratings were based on data from the American Hospital Association, CMS and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (Modern Healthcare, 5/20).

U.S. News did not rate a hospital’s performance on a procedure if it was performed on too few patients to conduct a rigorous statistical analysis. About 1,700 hospitals treated too few patients for a certain procedure to be included in the rating system.

Hospital Performance Details

Overall, the new system found 90% of eligible hospitals were considered “High Performing” or “Average.”

For any given procedure, about 10% of hospitals were considered “High Performing” and another 10% were considered “Below Average.”

According to the release, the average mortality rate for a surgical procedure performed at a “Below Average” hospital was two times the national average (U.S. News release, 5/20).

Thirty-four hospitals were considered “High Performing” across all five procedures and conditions, and another six that do not offer bypass surgery were considered “High Performing” across all four procedures and conditions that they did offer.

Meanwhile, the list of 40 honored organizations contained both small and large organizations with a national profile (Harder, U.S. News, 5/20).

Next Steps

Ben Harder, U.S. News‘ chief of health analysis, said the publication plans to expand the system beyond the current five procedures and conditions and could offer ratings for more than a dozen other elective procedures by 2016.

Harder said, “If you’re going to get an elective procedure, you generally have time to do research,” adding, “And if you’re going to choose, you should have full information about how experienced the hospital is treating that condition and how good their performance measures are” (Modern Healthcare, 5/20).

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