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Monday, April 28, 2008

AJC Swings for the fences hits a long single.

by George Dienhart

I think the Atlanta Journal Constitution had a good idea on building a website that ranks hospitals. The execution leaves something to be desired. The website keys in on customer satisfaction rating. That should be a component in rating hospitals. In explicably, the ratings appear to be un-weighted.

A hospital in a small rural area will most likely have a much higher rating than a hospital that performs riskier procedures. For example, small rural hospitals may concentrate primarily with stitching up clumsy children, as opposed to a major regional hospital that is doing heart transplants. Riskier procedures inherently carry higher mortality rates, which drive down customer satisfaction. What is my advice for the AJC? Weight the grades to take this in account, and build another site that measure quality of care based on benchmarks other than customer satisfaction.