Hospital star ratings are misleading the public
Ecological study of whether hospitals' star ratings reflect clinical outcomes - BMJ Online First
The Government's star rating system for hospitals is misleading the public, say researchers in this week's BMJ, who found that seriously ill adults fared just as well in trusts with zero stars as in three star hospitals.
Comparing data from 102 acute hospital trusts, researchers found that the system used to award star ratings is based too heavily on measures like crude mortality rates, without accounting for differences in the types of patients treated. University hospitals, for example, tended to have lower mortality rates for critically ill patients because their patients were generally less seriously ill when they were admitted – and thus at less risk of dying – than in other hospitals.
The star system should instead use data from specialised clinical databases, considered alongside indicators such as waiting times and cleanliness. If the Government continues to base a ratings system on current data, say the authors, it will not meet its commitment to give proper information to patients on the performance of their hospital.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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