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May 19, 2015

Hospital Ratings: A Guide for the Perplexed

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Medicine, Mount Sinai Roosevelt, Mount Sinai St Luke's Hospitals, and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
JAMA. 2015;313(19):1911-1912. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5269

From the first days of their training, physicians are enjoined to remember that the patient is more than the disease. Good clinicians look past the diagnoses to focus on the unique individual whose illness must be interpreted and treated in its human context.

In the world of quality measurement in health care, by contrast, patients are first and foremost their diseases. Only when the individuals are reduced to a series of DRGs (diagnosis related group codes) can hard metrics such as survival, readmission rates, and nosocomial complications be tallied and compared.