How Can Your Hospital Move-Up in the Ranks?
Written by Angie Mansfield
Patients have a lot to consider when their health becomes compromised, not least of which is how to find the best care possible for their condition.
While many will simply take the advice of their primary care physicians, others are more proactive in their search.
One of the places patients may turn to is "Best of" ranking lists for hospitals -- and one of the most well-known of these is U.S. News and World Report's annual Best Hospitals list.
By studying the criteria used to create that list, you may be able to make changes in your hospital that may eventually win you a ranking.
Reputation with Specialists
Counting as 32.5% of the total ranking score for a hospital, reputation among physicians in various specialties is one of the two biggest factors considered.
List organizers determine reputation by randomly selecting 200 physicians in each specialty and asking them to list which hospitals they consider the best for complex cases within their specialty.
The numbers then undergo a statistical adjustment to make sure hospitals with high reputation scores don't push out hospitals with lower reputation scores but better clinical numbers.
Also counting as 32.5% of the overall score, patient survival rate is a major factor.
Researchers determined this number by comparing the number of Medicare inpatients with certain life-threatening conditions who died within 30 days of admission with the number expected to die due to the severity of their conditions.
Patient Safety and Other Factors
This number looked at a hospital's efforts to prevent some of the worst mistakes and accidents that can occur while a patient is under their care. Accidents considered for the study included injuries during surgery and major bleeding after surgery.
Other factors considered for rankings included things such as nurse staffing, technologies used by the hospital, and average patient volume.
Hospitals with the Best Rankings
A few hospitals who performed the best on the U.S. News list included:
* Johns Hopkins Hospital, which was the best nationally ranked facility. The hospital also has a respectable patient satisfaction rate, with 82% of patients saying they would definitely recommend Johns Hopkins to their friends and family;
* Coming in at number two on the list was Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Among the 3% of the 4,806 hospitals analyzed for the list to rank in at least one specialty, Massachusetts General also has good patient satisfaction numbers. According to patient surveys, 89% would recommend the hospital to family and friends;
* The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota grabbed the number 3 spot on the 2013-2014 list. Scoring high in patient safety, Mayo Clinic works hard to reduce mistakes and accidents leading to patient injury.
Any good hospital is committed to providing excellent patient care, and your place on a ranking list may not be an indicator of your commitment to your patients. But the list is useful for identifying areas in which you might improve (such as patient safety or nurse staffing).
These improvements can boost your patient satisfaction numbers, and might even land you in a coveted spot on next year's list.
About the Author
Freelance blogger Angie Mansfield covers a variety of subjects for consumers and small business owners, including marketing, management, and Cydcor.