Among hospitals that made the list, however, are many relatively unknown facilities, some in small towns, such as Lodi Memorial Hospital in Lodi, CA and French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, CA; Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa; Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, FL; and Exeter Hospital in NH.
To be eligible for consideration, hospitals had to be evaluated in at least 19 of 27 service lines or procedures included in the Healthgrades formula.
Hospitals with poor performance receive one star, average performance nets three stars, and best performance five stars, says Marks, Healthgrades' executive vice president for informatics and strategy. Patient experience scores collected by the federal government on Hospital Compare are also included on the company's website.
The Healthgrades scoring system also uses 12 National Quality Forum endorsed safety measures. Each hospital is scored as worse than average, average, or better than average on such measures as pressure ulcers, collapsed lung after a procedure or surgery near the chest, catheter-associated bloodstream infections acquired in the hospital, hip fracture following surgery, or excessive bruising or bleeding as a result of a procedure.
"The data on Healthgrades is more granular and rich than the data on Hospital Compare," Marks says.
But consumers may be getting confused by the flurry of recent hospital rating systems, for example Leapfrog Group, Consumers Union, U.S. News & World Report, and Truven (formerly Thomson Reuters) all have released rankings of hospitals and in many cases with much different results for the same hospital.