US News delays hospital rankings to fix data problems

U.S News & World Report will delay the release of its 2017-18 Best Hospitals rankings to Aug. 8 after researchers discovered errors in the data used to compile the rankings.

The rankings were to be published Aug. 1. However, researchers uncovered errors requiring the rankings to be reassessed, officials said in a statement on the publication's website.

The errors were related to 12 data-driven specialties U.S. News reviews. Each participating hospital's rankings will be removed from a shared online dashboard and "will be given an update midweek," according to an email signed by U.S. News Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly and Chief Health Analyst Ben Harder and obtained by STAT.

Officials reportedly uncovered the errors after the list was shared with participating hospitals, under embargo, July 11.

The information used to compile the list is based on a physician survey and hospitals' self-reported patient safety and outcome data to various government entities and trade organizations. This year, U.S. News sought to revise its methodology to assess the best hospitals in the U.S. and adjusted its findings to account for the socioeconomic status of a hospital's patient demographic, along with other factors that may influence a hospital's ranking.

"We publish rankings and information for the benefit of patients navigating complex healthcare decisions, so ensuring the accuracy of that information is of utmost importance," Mr. Kelly said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

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