Penn Medicine exits US News rankings, plans its own dashboard

Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine's University of Pennsylvania Health System will no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospitals" rankings. Instead, Penn Medicine will develop its own data dashboard in the next year.

U.S. News rankings have been under scrutiny for their methodology, with questions arising about the rankings for medical schools, children's hospitals and more. In May, Bethlehem, Pa.-based St. Luke's University Health Network withdrew its participation from the rankings, calling them "seriously flawed." 

The rankings methodology focuses on inpatient hospital care for Medicare-insured patients, which Penn Medicine called an "outdated view of healthcare." Hospitals and health systems provide a wider range of services in the outpatient, remote and virtual settings than prior to the pandemic.

"Healthcare is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and the ways performance is measured must also change," said Kevin Mahoney, CEO of University of Pennsylvania Health System, in a press release. "Transparent metrics are an important tool for health systems to track and strengthen their efforts, but they should measure the full scope of operations dedicated to care delivery."

Penn Medicine also will not submit data to the American Hospital Association's Annual Survey, which U.S. News uses for rankings. The health system will continue to send required data to CMS.

Penn Medicine will no longer promote its prior appearances on the U.S. News lists and won't purchase any badges to publicize rankings.

"The U.S. News and World Report 'Best Hospitals' methodology changes regularly, making it difficult to meaningfully draw conclusions about hospital quality over time, let alone the enormous amount of care provided outside the hospital," said Patrick Brennan, MD, Penn Medicine's chief medical officer. "More importantly, these measures do not help us deliver better care for our patients, and they incentivize health systems to expend resources both to compete for placement in the rankings and promote their position on the list. Now is the time to focus our efforts, resources, and workforce talent on delivering the very best care and measuring the most impactful elements in medicine."

Penn Medicine's future public-facing dashboard will have data for all patients across multiple treatment settings and update annually online. Patients, referring physicians, health plans, policymakers, regulatory agencies and others will have access to Penn Medicine's data online, which will include evidence-based measures such as readmissions, infection rates and quality data. The system aims to report data areas like home care and telemedicine in addition to traditional inpatient services.

Penn Medicine also aims to work with other health system leaders across the nation to standardize self-reporting quality and performance measures.

Editor's note: This article was updated June 30 at 2:15 p.m. CT.

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