US News fixes data errors for hospital rankings: 7 things to know

U.S. News and World Report fixed data errors associated with its 2017-18 Best Hospitals list and released updated rankings to hospitals under embargo on Wednesday.

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 revised its ranking methodology to account for the socioeconomic status of a hospital's patient demographic, among other factors that could influence a hospital's ranking.

Here are seven things to know about the coding errors.

  1. Officials uncovered the coding errors after U.S. News shared the original rankings with participating hospitals July 11.

  1. The coding errors occurred as a result of two changes to U.S. News' calculation of risk-adjusted mortality rates, or survival scores. U.S. News adjusted the survival scores to account for low-income patient status and excluded patients who were transferred from one hospital to another from their calculations.

  1. In the cancer category, mortality rates were incorrectly adjusted for hospitals with high and low rates of transfer cases.

  1. Certain transfer cases were incorrectly excluded from a calculation used to adjust each hospital's mortality rate, which applied to all data-driven specialties.

  1. Errors also occurred in calculating poverty-adjusted mortality rates for all data-driven specialties.

  1. For some specialties, certain procedural cases were incorrectly included in calculations for hospitals' mortality rates.

  1. U.S. News conducted a comprehensive review of its analyses and addressed all errors. The embargoed rankings will be unveiled to the public August 8.

To view U.S. News' blog post detailing the data corrections, click here.

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