What makes a good hospital? Really.

Hint: them

Recently, US News & World Report released its “Best Hospitals” list.  What’s interesting is what criteria a national news magazine uses to judge what’s “best.”  Link here.  

The criteria seems to favor reputation versus results.  Note that patient safety only counts five percent toward the total score and ranking.  Of course, many hospitals rank themselves based on patient satisfaction scores.  The patient survey affect hospital quality ranks, which have many variables including when did the patient fill out the survey or what patients filled out the survey.   New parents, for example, are prime targets for a patient survey score.

Kaiser Health News noted the patient satisfaction scores drive hospitals in the story they did about hospital food going gourmet.  Link here. 

Hospitals are introducing upscale food on-demand just like a hotel’s room service not only to boost scores, but also to raise revenue.  Uneaten food is wasted money in terms of disposal costs.  Better food, as Kaiser reports, means patients don’t complain when they’re told to stay an extra day.

Meanwhile, a non-profit organization, The Leapfrog Group, ranks hospitals as well as states based on patient safety and patient outcomes, which they term “never events,” as they should never happen.  This includes falls, infections, surgical items left inside patients, etc.  Link here.  

Much of this data, however, depends on hospital self-reporting, including an annual hospital survey that Leapfrog send out.  Some hospitals, even in Minnesota, do not return the survey.

Considering the link between nurse staffing and patient safety, it will be interesting if the media and watchdog groups, such as Leapfrog, pick up on this reporting data and include it as part of their future hospital rankings.