U.S. News & World Report to Double Weight of Patient Safety Indicators

U.S. News & World Report Managing Editor Ben Harder announced yesterday that the methodology for next year’s closely watched Best Hospitals ratings will give more weight to patient safety indicators.

Announcing the move at the Patient Safety Movement Patient Safety and Technology Summit, Mr. Harder’s announcement was met with applause -- hospitals have been critical of the weight U.S. News’ ratings places on reputation.

In a blog post explaining the methodology change, Mr. Harder writes:

“Most significantly, in 12 specialties, the weight assigned to patient safety will double to 10 percent of each hospital's overall score. The weight given to hospital reputation will drop from 32.5 percent to 27.5 percent.”

According to Mr. Harder, who I spoke with yesterday about the change, the decision to increase weight for the patient safety indicators came, in part, due to the availability of “present on admission” data –- information that identifies patients that are at increased risk of adverse events upon admission. Before last year, patient safety indicator data did not include this important element, which is critical to the reliability of US News’ analysis.

U.S. News also announced a significant change to its methodology for reputation. In the past, it surveyed 200 board-certified specialists in the 16 specialties the ratings evaluate. This year, U.S. News will include data from an additional 50,000 board-certified physicians through a collaboration with Doximity, a professional network for doctors.

The hospital and health system world will no doubt be interested in finding out the impact of these changes. Will we see new names on the Best Hospitals list next year? The healthcare world will be watching.



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