Hospital rating tools should allow patients to customize rankings

Aug. 30, 2018

Publicly available hospital ratings and rankings should be modified to allow quality measures to be prioritized according to the needs and preferences of individual patients, according to a new RAND Corporation analysis.

Writing in the Aug. 30 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers propose a new way of rating hospitals by creating tools that allow patients to decide which performance measures to prioritize. For example, researchers demonstrate how the different priorities of a pregnant woman and a middle-aged man needing knee surgery might change which of their local hospitals has the highest overall rating.

The research team created a web tool that demonstrates a way to create customized rankings. The tool, which allows users to create custom rankings of most hospitals in the nation, is based upon the 2016 version of the federal government’s Hospital Compare star ratings.

Researchers demonstrate that a hospital quality report tailored to the “average” patient is likely not to be a good fit for most patients with individual needs.

In one scenario modeled by the team, customizing hospital report cards to the needs of a pregnant woman who lives in the suburbs of Boston drives down the ranking of a large downtown medical center and boosts the ratings of two community hospitals that are closer to her home. In another scenario, the ranking of two hospitals in the Los Angeles suburbs reverses when a man needing elective knee surgery customizes rankings to reflect his own needs.

Medical Xpress has the full article

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