Hospital rankings for positive press or for real?

Hospital & Health Networks magazine announced America’s "100 Most Wired" hospitals for 2008 this week.

You can compare this list to the list of "top hospitals," as recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Hospital & Health Networks created the "most wired" ranking a decade ago. This issue’s cover story says that wired hospitals have happier patients and higher quality measures than their less technologically advanced peers.

"Taken together, the patient satisfaction and quality indicator analyses
provide the strongest evidence in the 10-year history of the Most Wired
Survey and
Benchmarking Study that information technology makes a
difference in both the patient experience and the quality of care."

Mr. HISTalk has a more cynical take on the ranking.

"It’s time for the vested interest cheerleaders to start making a shaky case
that their Most Wired survey means anything. AHA’s CEO comes up with
this imaginary figment: "The results of the Most Wired survey confirm
that today’s patient also understands the benefits of IT in improving
care and improving the overall hospital experience." Other highly
object critics weigh in positively, including people from McKesson
(which sells systems) and Accenture (which sells services for systems)
in the magazine (which sells ads for systems) which did the survey in
conjunction with CHIME (a membership organization sponsored by
companies that sell systems). Conspicuously absent in the glowing
writeup: anything to do with those patients who supposedly now
understand the wonderfulness of HIT. They were apparently not surveyed,
but some acrobatic statisticians came up with the alleged fact that
high satisfaction hospitals use more IT by matching two unrelated
surveys without any consideration of cause vs. effect. There’s plenty
of good information about IT benefits without such an obvious stretch."

2 replies »

  1. As this post suggests, I believe such rankings can be highly biased and are the industry’s way of generating publicity for themselves. We have to be careful to fully understand who is behind the data and how the data are compiled. Astoundingly, some rankings only include hospitals who pay! And others require payment to see the data!
    We created http://www.WhereToFindCare.com because we believe consumers are the best experts, nobody should have to pay for rankings, and absolutely no special interests should be involved in such rankings.

  2. Can you say a disconnect of tectonic proportions? Just ponder for the moment the mega fees that have accrued to the benefit of these self anointed “experts”, their mainstream or niche suppliers of trendy informational “products du jour”, presumably with relevance to the patient care cost/quality value proposition. Yet precious little has changed, other than the size of IT capital budgets, titles of officers with responsibility to interface with medical staff organizations, affiliate ventures or contracted provider networks.
    As with most expert lead initiatives, Docs remain on the periphery, and marginally integrated, with the litany of cutting edge “management incubated” offers.
    You might extend this situation to the health plan market as well. Health plans and their physicians are fundamentally culturally incompatible.
    Try as they might, both hospital and health plan executives in their attempts to rationalize increasingly bloated incomes via general industry parity, implement one product or program series after another proffered by ideologically driven health policy think tanks or their proxies.
    In truth, nothing structural has really changed in this trillion dollar alphabet soup addicted “cottage industry”, only the acronyms used to characterize the latest flawed effort to rationalize a failed system. Cost shifting continues unabated, the three legged wobbly stool governance structure remains the template of most hospitals, docs do their own thing, and the consumer is stuck with the consequences “silo-ed” special interests with tunnel vision and economic self interest.
    Where (and when) will it stop? Lets recount just a few of those era specific hopeful “solutions” concocted since the 70s: from PRSOs, to HSAs, to CMPs, to HMOs, PPOs, MSAs, to HDHP/CDHP to what’s next? Most certainly there will be a successor acronym…..
    Good grief!