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Ratings for hospitals, doctors, surgeons, home health agencies, nursing homes

September 6, 2015

Tags: rating health care, rating hospitals, rating doctors, rating home health care agencies

by Pat McNees. Updated 12-13-17.
I've listed here various "scorecards" and ratings for different aspects of the U.S. health care system, because they're a step toward helping consumers figure out how to choose healthcare providers, services, and institutions. The problem is, different groups choose different ways of evaluating doctors and hospitals and to the extent that some use some punishment measures to protect consumers (measures which might work against ratings for doctors or hospitals that try to provide more and more sophisticated services, for example), and that some measures seem to conflict, this must all be taken with a grain of salt. Also, some ranking systems don't rank all hospitals in a system-- rank only those that fit criteria that group (e.g., Leapfrog) chose to rank. Be sure to take a look at the bigger picture because the ranking organization may not be. There is also at least one paradox in ranking systems: Sometimes the better academic hospitals get worse rankings because they're better at reporting adverse events, they may treat more difficult cases, and they often treat patients of lower socioeconomic status, whose health may be worse to begin with.
Ratings are an important step toward making health care more transparent for consumers. Scroll to the bottom for some fairly recent criticisms and Norman Bauman's analysis of problems with various rating systems.

Surgeon Scorecard. ProPublica's informal website shows death and complication rates in eight types of surgery, showing results on all surgeons, good or bad. with 20 or more surgeries in a category. See USA Today story 'Surgeon scorecard' measures docs by complications.But also, see Kevin MD's criticism of (more…)