A long-standing argument against hospital rating sites like Hospital Compare and U.S. News & World Report is that healthcare is too complex to assign a single rating that accurately represents the overall quality of care at a hospital.
Could patient input improve hospital ratings' accuracy?
One way to get at that issue could be allowing consumers to modify the information used by the sites to determine ratings, according to researchers at RAND Corp. in a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece published Wednesday. But healthcare consumer experts have questioned whether that change would solve the fundamental issues with ratings sites, such as flawed quality measures and consumer health literacy.
To calculate hospital ratings, ranking sites create fixed methodologies that assign weights to selected quality measures. Hospital stakeholders often say these ratings systems are unfair because every patient has unique needs and preferences for their healthcare experience that can't fit into a single methodology.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.