Hospital care takes a central place in American health system, although in recent years its value has been decreased and displaced by the activities of clinics, ambulances and nursing homes.
American hospitals are multi-functional medical research centers, where the specialists in all directions and specialties are focused. Their key feature is a clear delineation of responsibilities of medical staff, from medical orderlies and nurses to surgeons of various profiles. Hospitals are divided into commercial and non-commercial, but is a separate story.
If there is a need for very complicated surgery or even organ transplants, then of course the American medicine takes a leading place among medicine of the other countries of the entire planet. There is one more remarkable advantage, for example let's take German medical system into notice. In Germany no one helps you if you don't have medical insurance or money. In a contrary, in the US you will get medical help for sure, moreover, they will even carry out a complex operation if it threatens your life. But they will demand the payment only after the medical care is provided. Kids get special attitude! If the parents do not have money or insurance, different organizations or church will come to the aid and will help to finance the necessary medical care. Sometimes the fundings may come from an unknown sponsor. By the way, many children adopted in the United States, have been provided grant assistance for rehabilitation from different funds.
Every year millions of Americans who need medical care, have to find an answer to a difficult question: what kind of hospital to choose for treatment.
There are at least 15 companies engaged in the assessment of the quality of the hospitals all over the country, that is why is not easy to decide what hospital to choose. At the same time, they give the same assessment very rarely: leader of one list may be in the middle of the other and then at the bottom "of the standings."
The correct choice of the hospital may influence not only on health, but also on the patient's life. Here is an example.
According to the greatest research, carried out by the organization called HealthGrades — Thirteenth Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America (checking affected 5 thousand. private hospitals that provided 40 million hospital files), the probability of death due to different procedures conducted in 26 hospitals has turned out to be 72% lower than in medical institutions which are 5 star rated according to the report. (5-star rated), compared to hospitals, which are 1 star rated. It is something to think about, is not it?
"If we compare the results of hospital rankings conducted by different organizations, you will not see that at least two of them coincide," - said Dr. Brent James from Intermountain Healthcare in an interview with USA Today .
According to a survey conducted by the groups of medical experts from Harvard and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation last year, 38% of Americans said that they use various ratings of hospitals and make choice on their basis. At the same time, 57% said they would prefer to contact the hospital, about which they already have a definite opinion, as they had previously received assistance in some exact hospitals or they got advice on any hospital from relatives or friends.
Among hospital ratings, the experts particularly remark two: the online edition of US News and World Report and a magazine Consumer Affairs.
According to Dr. Peter Slavin - the president of Massachusetts General Hospital «rating of hospitals by US News and World Report can be considered the most influential in the United States." It's not surprising, that the editor of US News and World Report Brian Kelly, agrees with him, and considers the rating of his publication a "gold standard of hospital ratings".
Maybe so, but here is what should be mentioned: this medical institution, which is headed by Mr. Slavin, takes the first place in the list of US News and World Report since 2012. But in the next edition of Consumer Affairs, Massachusetts General Hospital does not get even in the top ten. How to explain it?
They say, the thing is that the research group of Consumer Affairs focuses on a single criteria - patient's safety. But there are other criteria of evaluation of the medical institution. For example, specialization, quality of provided services, convenience for patients, the use of the latest technologies. In order to clarify for the reader, "patient's safety" means the avoidance of harm to patients directly made by doctor (medical errors) and health facilities (infection, postoperative complications, readmissions).
Two different approaches to the evaluation of the Massachusetts General Hospital show that it is very important for the patient to understand the criteria used in compiling rating of the best medical institutions of the country.
The main criterion for US News and World Report rating are the high evaluations which have been deserved seeing the treatment of certain serious diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases or cancer. The experts of Consumer Affairs, focus on the safety of patients, that should be in the foreground according to their opinion. On the basis of the criteria applied US News and World Report put the Massachusetts General Hospital on the first place. The thing is that in this hospital doctors demonstrate substantial progress in the field of endocrinology, in particular, the treatment of diabetes; there are high-qualified otolaryngologists and neurologists. The high reputation among hospital neurosurgeons. Speaking about the shortcomings, which the Consumer Affairs stresses: at Massachusetts General Hospital there is too high percentage of readmissions, there are other problems associated with patient safety.
The difference between the evaluations of medical institutions given by various expert ratings is noticed not only regarding Massachusetts General Hospital.
For example, the medical center famous throughout the country named Cleveland Clinic is in the list of the best hospitals in the country according to US News and World Report and takes a respectable 4th place, but in the rating of Consumer Affairs it has not entered not only the first ten, but also the second ten rating. New York Medical Center called New York-Presbyterian University Hospital has taken the 7th place in the list of US News and World Report, but it has been among the list of outsiders in the rating of Consumer Affairs, showing the "patient's safety" on low level.
Hospitals of the top ten in a list of US News and World Report: Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has not been presented in the list of Consumer Affairs, because it failed to provide the requested data on "patient's safety."
Of course, there are medical institutions, the quality of which satisfies the authors of both ratings. Among them are: Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis.
Another confirmation of the differences in the evaluation of the country's hospitals is a list of the best hospitals in the country called Top Performers, compiled by members of the independent non-profit organization called Joint Commission (this committee confirms that the activities of the medical institutions meet all the required standards). An unexpected surprise of the rating is the omission of one of the most "titled" hospitals which has constantly taken the first place on the list of US News and World Report - Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. During the last years, it has been ousted to the second place by Massachusetts General Hospital.
What kind of hospital rating can get the greatest trust of the consumer?
John Santa, director of who heads the rating-center at Consumer Affairs, says that his organization's data is the most unbiased, as the magazine does not publish commercial advertising and does not depend upon the outside sponsors. In addition, the publication has a long history of consumer protection, including the patients of hospitals.
Kelly of the US News and World Report insists that his rating is the most reliable. However, he notes that in the list of his publication there are hospitals, which are leaders in the treatment of various diseases, so people who are really sick and require serious professional help should pay attention to his rating.
All these points of view inspire us so much that we want to try to create our own rating. Or at least present you some basic information regarding every hospital which have been observed by our visitors.