U.S. News & World Report Tuesday released the 25th edition of its much-anticipated rankings of the nation's "Best Hospitals 2014-15" with a modified methodology that doubles the value of patient safety and trims the importance of reputation.
In 12 of the 16 specialties rated by the magazine, the value of patient safety increased from 5% to 10% of each hospital's overall score, while the weight given to hospital reputation dropped from 32.5% to 27.5%.
Ben Harder, managing editor and director of healthcare analysis for U.S. News, says the shift reflects the evolution of the rankings toward more objective assessments made possible by better data.
"The most important methodology change we made this year was to add two new metrics to our patient safety calculations. These were in hospital post-operative hip fractures and in hospital pressure ulcers," Harder says.
"They've been metrics that have been reported for a number of years by the federal government, but there have been reliability issues related to them. Some improvements have been made in recent years that we had been analyzing to determine if the reliability of these two measures warranted inclusion in our rankings model. We made the determination early this year and in fact published in January that we were going to be incorporating these two metrics."