Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the University of Pennsylvania bioethicist and oncologist who helped the White House draft the healthcare reform law, aims fire in today's Wall Street Journal at U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospitals" rankings. Calling the methodology behind the rankings "flawed to the point of being useless," he blasts their overreliance on reputation and a failure to take into account quality criteria such as hospital-acquired infections and incidence of preventable falls and bed sores.
Hospital rankings are only good for "media hoopla and a few chest-thumping press releases from hospitals at the top of the list," he charges. Still, don't be surprised if in the next few weeks you start seeing highly ranked hospitals running full-page ads in local newspapers and on roadside billboards. The latest rankings were released last week.
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