Consumer Reports is the largest independent product testing organization in the world. Dr. John James, founder of Patient Safety America became active in Consumer Reports and initiated Safe Patient Project, which works with people across the country who have been harmed by medical error.
Scope of Report
Report’s Intended End Users
Consumer Reports evaluates hospitals based on a Consumer Reports patient safety score, as well as individual measures relating to patient experience, patient outcomes, and certain hospital practices to (a) provide additional information to consumers regarding personal health care decisions, and (b) reduce medical error through data reporting and transparency.
Understanding the Score
Final score is displayed as Composite Safety Score, which is combination of several measures. Composite Safety Score ranges from 1 to 100; a higher score is favorable.
Hospital Ratings is generated annually, offering national-, state-, and hospital-level scores for each measure.
- Nation’s acute care, critical access, Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and Children’s hospitals
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- American Hospital Association (AHA)
- National Healthcare Safety network (NHSN)
- The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)
Detailed methodology is provided in Consumer Reports Health: How We Rate Hospitals, Dec 2014. Consumer Report uses a 1-to-5 scale corresponding to Consumer Report’s well-known colored dots, called blobs, where higher numbers are better. For the components of the Safety Score and other composites, more significant digits are included in calculations by using the “Fractional Blob (FB) scale”, which ranges from 0.5 to 5.5.
Converting Ratings to Blob provides capability to combine and compare different quality components on a common scale. Different range of fractional blob has been assigned to different measure. Range of fractional blob for each measure is available on consumer report website as well as state level report. Different measure uses different time range from 1- 2 year.
Changes to Measures Used by Consumer Reports Published December 2014
Changes to the measures reported by Consumer Reports are outlined below. More details are available in the relevant section for each measure.
March 2014 update
- Replaced the CMS heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia readmission measures with the hospital-wide, all-cause readmission measure (“avoiding readmissions”)
- Added the CMS heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia mortality measure (“avoiding mortality – medical”)
- Added PSI-4 – Death among surgical patients with serious treatable complications) (“avoiding mortality – surgical”)
- Added catheter-associated urinary tract infection data to the Safety Score
- Removed PSI-90 “avoiding complications”
- Source of data is changed to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety network (NHSN); no longer use any state-based data for hospital-acquired infections
May 2014 update
- Added the AHRQ IQI 33 measure “avoiding C-sections” for 22 states
June 2014 update
- Added heart surgery Ratings (Isolated heart bypass surgery and aortic valve replacement surgery)
- Published infections composite and catheter-associated urinary tract infection Ratings
Improvement tools and resources can be found at http://www.hqinstitute.org/tools-resources