Five Star Hospitals; If you’re looking for a top notch hospital with a wide range of services, narrowing your list to hospitals with a five-star patient experience rating might lead you astray. Many five-star hospitals offer fewer services than those without five stars, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers published June 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“If you stay in a hotel with a five-star rating, you generally accept not only better service than in other hotels, but more services, from valet parking and room service to a spa and pool,” says Zishan Siddiqui, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and first author of the new paper. But when it comes to hospitals, the five-star category is much less helpful at capturing the services offered.
Hospitals across the country
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publically reports data on more than 4,000 hospitals across the country. In the past, raw numbers reflecting measures such as patient satisfaction, complication rates and timeliness of care—were published on the CMS website. In 2016, however, the agency debuted a system in which hospitals are assign a star rating in several categories, including patient experiences.
Although data on how the public uses the ratings isn’t available; so Siddiqui and his colleagues assume that people use them when choosing a facility for their medical care. If people are coming in with the same expectations as they have for five-star hotels when they review hospital star ratings, they wondered whether their expectations about getting more services in a five-star hospital would be true,” says Siddiqui.
The researchers link CMS patient experience star ratings with information from the American Hospital Association on the clinical services a hospital offers. Among 2,798 hospitals with patient experience star ratings, 150 hospitals (5.4%) receive five stars. The team compare those hospitals to ones that receive one through four stars in patient experience.
Five star hospitals
The five-star hospitals are also less likely to be teaching hospitals or research hospitals. Even when the team remove specialty hospitals such as cardiac and orthopaedic hospitals; so from the analysis, the results were similar: Five star rate general medical hospitals offer fewer services than general medical hospitals with lower ratings.
Hospitals that have more services and therefore more complex patients; so have more challenges predicting patients’ needs; also are more likely to end up with low scores when patients are survey. This means hospitals that are seeing these kinds of patients are taking a hit when it comes to their rating, says Siddiqui. But those very hospitals with expertise in managing many types of patients; so may be those that people are looking for in a hospital search.
The findings don’t necessarily apply to the other star ratings that CMS issues; so since the current study only look at patient experience star ratings. And Siddiqui says the ratings still have value a hospital with a four-star patient; also experience rating will generally have higher standards of communication; also responsiveness than one with a one-star rating.
But he hopes consumers take the ratings with a grain of salt; also look beyond five-star hospitals when choosing their medical care. If you’re looking for a hospital, I’d recommend using more than one evaluation method; also after narrowing hospitals base on your clinical needs, experience of family and friends with similar needs; so word of mouth and your doctor’s recommendation,” he says.