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Houston Methodist CEO on Why U.S. News Rankings Matter

July 27, 2021 - Eden McCleskey

It's that time of year again — time to hear all about who did what in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital rankings. For the record, Houston Methodist moved up four spots to No. 16 on the prestigious national Honor Roll, and was ranked the best hospital in Texas for the tenth year in a row. And while this clearly gives us reason to celebrate both internally and among the patients and community we serve, we also know that for an audience of national physicians, it can be hard to drown out all the noise and figure out where this annual information blitz falls on the spectrum between substance and style.

To weigh in on what the rankings mean to physicians, hospitals and the patients we all serve, we asked Houston Methodist President and CEO Dr. Marc Boom to reflect on what they mean to him personally and why he believes it's a valuable measurement of success.

In your opinion, do physicians care about the rankings?

Yes, I think they do. And what's more, I think they should. It is the best way we have to keep score or be graded for the care we give.

Why is keeping score a good thing?

Competition in health care is good for the patients. When we compete with one another not for dollars or market share, but on the things U.S. News is grading on — safety, outcomes, nursing excellence, advanced research and the ability to actually perform what we tell our patients we are able to perform — we rise to our highest level and it is the patients who win.

How data-driven are the rankings?

The rankings are increasingly driven by publicly recorded CMS data points. Only about 25% of the methodology is how other physicians rate us — also known as the reputation score. It's largely based on a hospital's performance on 17 procedures and conditions. The rankings also factor in technology, nurse-to-patient ratios and such. In my experience as a physician and CEO, these are things all physicians care about.

What do our physicians tell you about whether the rankings matter to them or not?

It's a source of pride to work in a hospital that is consistently ranked by U.S. News. It means they are doing tremendous jobs and are surrounded by others doing the same. I think it especially means a lot to our staff right now, as we are in the midst of yet another surge in COVID-19. Our employees and physicians have dedicated themselves to patient care and safety every single day of this pandemic. And that means all of our patients and their families can feel good knowing they are in one of the safest and best hospital systems in the country.


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