"So, if you have an acute condition you are not going to do a ton of research. You are going to call 9-1-1 and be taken to the nearest hospital. But if you are looking for a hospital for a knee replacement or a hip replacement or some elective procedure, there is an array of sites that are trying to draw attention to patient safety at hospitals. That has to be something that is very much in the mix as you think about what hospital you want to go to."
Richard "Buz" Cooper, MD, a healthcare economist at the University of Pennsylvania, calls the U.S. News list "an old game, but it has some merit for what it actually measures."
"It lists the hospitals in which various specialties are highly regarded nationally, and the one with the most is #1. These are places where specialists elsewhere in the country trained, and they hold them in high regard. They are also places that specialists and generalists refer their most complex patients. So, they deserve recognition," Cooper said in an email exchange with HealthLeaders Media.
"But other hospitals are just as good in the vast majority of circumstances. Yet even there, there is a pecking order. For a serious problem, the highly developed community hospital is a better place to go than the 20-bed rural hospital."