User reviews, social media and expert ratings have literally rebuilt the way we pick an hotel, select a smartphone or book a table. But when it comes to choosing an hospital, things still look different. Why?
Until recently, this type of transparent, consumer-focused information simply didn’t exist. But things are rapidly changing thanks to new collaborative tools available on the internet, and to a stronger patients’ awareness of their needs.
That’s why websites offering user-based hospital ratings are now thriving. They typically offer to users the possibility to read and write reviews, have fresh details on hospital facilities and services and choose more wisely where to get cured (see this example).
Beyond any reasonable doubt on reliability of user reviews, that phenomenon seems to be the “social era” version of the popular classifications mostly based on measurable safety indicators.
In the USA, two major organizations recently released groundbreaking hospital rankings. The Leapfrog Group, a well-respected organization focused on promoting safer hospital care, assigned hospitals grades (“A” through “F”) based on how well they cared for patients without harming them (see the website). U.S. News & World Report, probably the most widely known source for rating colleges, released its annual hospital rankings. While others have also gotten into this game, these organizations bring the highest amount of care, transparency, and credibility.
These rankings foster hospital competition over safety, thus spreading the best practices among healthcare institutions. That’s something we strongly believe in: measure as a path towards improvement.