Which Hospital Rankings Are the Most Important?

In the Information Age, we’re accustomed to finding reviews or data that definitively says which company is better, which restaurant to go to, or what school offers the best education. Health care, however, is a complex industry with many moving parts. There are many established quality measures and hospital rankings, but it’s hard to know which rankings really make a difference.

In the health care industry, it’s difficult to measure quality based on isolated statistics because each patient at a hospital comes in with a unique background. Economies are different from city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, residents in a lower income area are likely to have fewer resources to spend on health care. This means they require different service than a higher-income patient. The data comparisons from one institution to the next are not apples to apples.

Filtering different hospital ratings

The New York Times has taken a deeper look at how hospitals are ranked. A study by health economists at M.I.T. and Vanderbilt explores the different metrics to see which rankings make the most difference. The study based its overall rankings on reducing mortality.

Its findings include:

  • Higher customer satisfaction rankings are consistent with reduced mortality rates
  • High-quality care translates to lower mortality rates
  • Higher cost hospitals had lower mortality rates

Why care giving and customer service matters

Whether it’s a routine check-up, setting a broken bone or for a trip to the emergency room, the expectation when you visit a doctor is that you’ll get treatment to improve your situation. Physicians are licensed and highly trained in their fields, with strict professional and legal standards.

Medical malpractice is a term for when a medical professional doesn’t meet those standards: when negligent or careless actions cause more pain and suffering. There are many forms ranging from unsanitary conditions to misdiagnosis, medication and errors during operations.

Professional standards = professional service

While health care varies by the institution, the fundamental idea is that its purpose is to improve the well-being of patients. The conclusions of the recent study show that the level of care and customer service at an institution matters. When a health care worker is not giving professional level service, it’s your right to hold them accountable. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights when you believe you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice.

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