CHICAGO—While popular hospital rating systems can help identify high-quality hospitals for cardiovascular operations, patients can achieve similar outcomes by seeking care at high-volume hospitals closer to home, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Hospital quality ratings have become a source of bragging rights for many hospitals, and they receive substantial attention from both the public and media. Two of the most recognized ratings are the U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Hospitals" and HealthGrades' "America's 50 Best Hospitals." Although patients and caregivers increasingly use these quality ratings to choose hospitals, the relationship between ratings and outcomes remains unclear. This study addresses the important question of whether surgical outcomes at the highly rated hospitals are better than surgical outcomes at other hospitals in the United States.
"Both the U.S. News and World Report and HealthGrades quality rating systems are frequently used for hospital marketing. Our study shows that current hospital ratings systems are no better in judging the quality of hospitals than are procedural volumes," according to Nicholas Osborne, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, University of Michigan.