Personalized Hospital Ratings: Transparency for the Internet Age


Aug 30, 2018

Doctors and nurses in hospital

Photo by FS Productions/Getty Images

This commentary originally appeared on New England Journal of Medicine on August 30, 2018.

Each release of new overall hospital ratings is captivating to journalists, hospital leaders, and health care consumers in the United States. These overall ratings, whether published by U.S. News, Consumer Reports, or Hospital Compare, aggregate a wide array of underlying measures into a single score for each hospital. Without such composite scores, it would be impossible to create rankings, star ratings, and “honor rolls” based on overall performance. As every hospital chief executive (and college president) knows, boards of directors rarely ignore these ratings.…

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Juliet Rumball-Smith is director of Health Intelligence & Translational Medicine, Northland District Health Board; Jill Gurvey is a research programmer at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation; and Mark W. Friedberg is a senior physician policy researcher at RAND.