Critic questions accuracy of 'Top Hospitals' lists

Rankings of so-called "Top Hospitals" can produce wildly different results depending on the questions asked and the criteria used to determine each healthcare institution's rating, according to a commentary published at MedPageToday.

In the piece, blogger Skeptical Scalpel, M.D., a long-time surgeon and former chairman of a surgery and residency program, used the example of the Leapfrog Group's list of the top 96 hospitals in the country. The federal government had penalized seven of those hospitals for their rates of infections and complications, he says.

To help explain the disconnect, Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder told him that the federal sanctions were based on "a composite of safety measures, weighted heavily toward infection measures, and looks at different time periods." Furthermore, she says, a percentage of the data used in the Leapfrog survey was self-reported, which does not always produce accurate results.

This is not the first time the "best hospitals' lists have come under question. The U.S. News & World Report's hospital-ranking system has come under fire in recent years, In 2014, the publication altered its methodology to include a greater emphasis on patient safety. 

To learn more:
- read the commentary