US News changes quality measurements for upcoming hospital rankings: 5 things to know

The 2016-17 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals rankings, scheduled to be published in August, will place less emphasis on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Patient Safety Indicators when assessing hospitals for quality.

The current U.S. News hospital rankings equally weigh seven AHRQ PSIs to generate a hospital's patient safety score, and that score accounts for 10 percent of the overall score that determines a hospital's ranking across 12 specialties. After conducting a review of medical literature, an internal data analysis and considering input from clinicians, researchers and healthcare administrators, U.S. News decided to make changes to the role PSIs play in their assessment of hospital quality.

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Here are five things to know about the new U.S. News hospital ranking methods.

1. Due to billing in accuracies related to the PSI measure for pressure ulcers, said measure will no longer be considered when assessing a hospital for safety.

2. The patient safety score's weighted influence on overall quality will be reduced from 10 percent to 5 percent.

3. The 5 percent weight reduction from PSIs will be offset with added weight to risk-adjusted survival, increasing this measure's significance from 32.5 percent to 37.5 percent.

4. Data from CMS will no longer be used when calculating PSI scores for Maryland hospitals because CMS reportage regarding these institutions contains incomplete patient admissions data. CMS data will be used to calculate PSIs for all states other than Maryland.

5. U.S. News will now use CMS's Standard Analytical Files instead of Medicare Provider Analysis and Review File when analyzing data on procedures. The SAF contains the date on which procedures are linked to a PSI event. This information will enable U.S. News to conduct a more sophisticated analysis by identifying events not incited by hospital error.

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