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Hospital Ratings Websites Offer Differing Opinions

03/19/13

  11:37:22 am, by MedBen5   , 251 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Hospital Ratings Websites Offer Differing Opinions

Only about 1 out of 10 Internet users consult online rankings of hospitals, says a Pew Research Center Survey – and those who do may come away confused.

According to Kaiser Health News, multiple nonprofit groups now offer online evaluations of hospitals and medical facilities, created with the express purpose of helping patients make informed health care decisions. But because thse organizations use different criteria to determine a hospital’s strengths and weaknesses, it can be difficult to know to believe when faced with opposing opinions.

Complicating matters further, some “report card” sites charges licensing fees, ranging from $12,500 to $145,000, to hospitals that want to advertise their awards. Additionally, some of the evaluation groups also offer consulting services to hospitals that want to improve their overall performance – so even if these groups don’t earn anything from the rating sites, they can profit from these ancillary services. (One notable exception is Consumer Reports, which bars hospitals from using its ratings in marketing, but does charge for online access to their ratings.)

Of course, many hospital patients don’t have the luxury of shopping around – when an emergency occurs, the best choice is typically the closest one. But for those who have the time to compare and don’t mind putting in a little extra browsing time, visiting several of these sites should give them a pretty good idea of a hospital’s overall quality.

Kaiser has also compiled a list of some of the better-known hospital ratings websites, including Medicare’s Hospital Compare, The Joint Commission and Leapfrog.

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