US News updates methodology for Best Hospitals 2018-19 list

Ahead of its release of the 2018-19 Best Hospitals ranking Aug. 14, U.S. News & World Report revealed updates to its methodology to determine how hospitals included in the rankings are chosen.

U.S. News developed its methodology in collaboration with data contractor RTI International. The organizations' analyses cluster under two distinct methodologies: one for the procedures and conditions ratings, and one for specialty rankings. The methodologies are updated annually to reflect industry changes.

Some prominent changes to the 2018-19 rankings methodology include:

  • Integration of ICD-10 codes to achieve comparability in patient populations and outcomes and help resolve certain discontinuities observed in billing patterns
  • For specialty rankings, U.S. News removed inpatient transfers from one hospital to another when calculating the receiving hospital's risk-adjusted mortality rate
  • Also for specialty rankings, risk-adjusted mortality rates were converted to a "survival score" using a numerical rating of one to 10, with scores of one to five indicating higher-than-expected mortality rates and scores of six to 10 indicating a lower-than-expected rate
  • For procedures and conditions rankings, more outcome measures were included in the organizations' final models this year. However, the modeling process for the 2018-19 list comprises a different subset of measures than those used last year

U.S. News also made several structural and process measures changes to specific specialties, including hip and knee replacement, heart failure and COPD, and issued changes to outcome and patient experience measures for others.

To view all of U.S. News' changes to the 2018-19 Best Hospitals rankings, click here.

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