A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review http://www.beckershospitalreview.com* reported on a study published in Health Affairs which “ raised questions about whether hospitals' reputations match the quality of care they provide. The study examined the differences between high-price and low-price hospitals and found the more costly providers were the clear winners in U.S. News & World Report rankings, which are partly (32.5 percent for the Best Hospitals 2013-14) based on their reputation with specialists. However, low-price hospitals performed better on certain outcomes-based readmissions and patient safety measures, such as postoperative blood clots. If high-price hospitals tend to have better reputations, the study raises the question of whether there's a disconnect between how hospitals are perceived and how they perform and whether reputation should play a part in lists such as Truven Health Analytics' 100 Top Hospitals, Becker's Hospital Review's "100 Great Hospitals" and U.S. News' Best Hospitals.
“Other hospital industry experts agree that more objective quality data should be given more weight than reputation (if reputation gets any weight at all) when assessing healthcare providers. Although hospitals and health systems that conduct significant amounts of groundbreaking research and have the best and brightest staff members may stand out to clinicians and the general public, a community hospital can often perform just as well, depending on what the patient needs, says Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association.”
"If we've got a fairly routine thing that's the matter with us…that can be done superbly in a community hospital," she says. "If you're going in for a gallbladder removal, you're going in to deliver a baby…they know how to do that, and they can do it well. That comes with repetition."
* To read the full BHR article “Searching for the Best Hospitals: Does a Great Reputation Mean High-Quality Care? by Helen Adamopoulos highlight and click on open hyperlink
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