Sunday, March 13, 2016

US News rankings reward transparency

Regular readers will know that I am no fan of hospital rankings and have been quite critical over the years at the ones at US News and World Report.  But let's give credit to where it is due:

Check out this news release. Excerpts:

Patients and families who've used our rankings tell us they want more from hospitals. What they want is meaningful transparency.

U.S. News will implement two closely related methodology changes this spring that could drive broader transparency. Both will affect only our rankings of Best Hospitals in Cardiology & Heart Surgery. In that specialty, we will award credit to hospitals that publicly release their own performance data via one or both of two clinical registries, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons' (STS) Adult Cardiac Surgery Database and the American College of Cardiology's (ACC) National Cardiovascular Data Registry. In the case of the ACC data, two constituent registries will be considered: CathPCI and ICD. ACC and its participating cardiologists began voluntary public reporting from CathPCI and ICD in November.

Of approximately 700 hospitals evaluated for the heart rankings, more than half already publicly report through STS. (Their performance can be freely accessed at Many STS reporters publicly report through ACC as well. In addition, some hospitals that haven't yet opted into the STS reporting program, which began in 2010, have already elected to participate in the ACC's program. (ACC data can be found at

Slightly more than 300 of the hospitals in the U.S. News cardiovascular-care analysis, however, have not yet opted to be transparent through either registry. That deprives patients of an opportunity to assess the holdouts' quality of care.

To accommodate the new transparency measures, U.S. News will reduce reputation's scoring weight in Cardiology & Heart Surgery from 27.5 percent to 24.5 percent.

Well done! This is an excellent step.  I hope it will be expanded to other specialties over time.

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