Healthcare News & Insights

Hospitals now have a method for evaluating hospital report card systems

Hospital rankings/report cards have been a thorn in the side of many facilities. But now hospitals have a way to turn the tables and grade the report card systems. 

93227462The number of organizations that have their own special  hospital and physician quality performance grading system has grown quite a bit in the past 10 years. And each one differs in what they measure, the data sources they use and the scoring methodologies they use to grade facilities. This causes confusion for consumers, providers and hospitals, and inhibits the public’s ability to make an educated choice when it comes to picking a provider or a hospital.

Which systems are valid/reliable?

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has tried to answer that question by creating a list of 25 guiding principles that hospital executives and administrators, and healthcare providers can use to evaluate these grading systems.

In its three-page report, the AAMC noted that “the hospital community supports the principle of accountability through public reporting of health care performance data. However, performance data that are not collected, analyzed, or displayed appropriately may add more confusion than clarity to the healthcare quality question.”

To eliminate the confusion, the AAMC said the data need to be understandable and the results need to be comparable. To do that, the data should adhere to the following three guiding principles:

1. Purpose: All websites that report performance data should explicitly state their target audience and the intended purpose of the report. The data, measures and data display should fulfill the report’s stated purpose.

2. Transparency: This requires that all information necessary to understand the data be available to the reader. Therefore, measurement specifications, data collection methods, data sources, risk adjustment methodologies and their component parts, composite score methodologies, and reporting methods used to translate results into graphical display need to be included and explained in detail so that the results can be replicated. Limitations in the data collection and any financial conflicts of interest should also be disclosed.

3. Validity:  As far as validity goes, measures, as well as composite and scoring methodologies, should be backed up with clinical evidence, field-tested and and endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF).

So far, not one of the current grading systems meet all three guidelines.

The guidelines are backed by America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, and the Federation of American Hospitals.


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