By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - July 28, 2020
Each summer, U.S. News & World Report releases its list of Best Hospitals. The publication enlists a research firm to evaluate more than 4,500 medical centers nationwide in 16 specialties, including cancer, and the top 50 institutions in each specialty make the list.
Moffitt Cancer Center is No. 11 on this year’s Best Hospitals for Cancer list, tied with Siteman Cancer Center. The ranking solidifies Moffitt as the leading cancer hospital in the Southeast and Florida. The cancer center has been included on the list for the last 21 years.
“Moffitt is a relatively young cancer center, celebrating our 34th anniversary later this fall. To be included on the list for two decades is a huge accomplishment and highlights our commitment to our patients and our mission,” said Dr. Bob Keenan, Moffitt’s chief medical officer and vice president of Quality.
U.S. News created the list 31 years ago to serve as a guide to help patients make educated decisions about their health care, especially when facing a difficult diagnosis, surgery or procedure. Although the hospitals on the list are known to have deep medical expertise and a proven track record of delivering good patient outcomes, some critics argue Best Hospitals puts too much weight on an institution’s “reputation,” which is based on a survey of board-certified physicians.
Keenan says while expert opinion from peers in the medical community is factored in, it does not make up most of the Best Hospitals scorecard. “More than two-thirds of the scorecard evaluates how well a hospital cares for its patients. They look at survival rates and outcomes over a three-year period,” he said. “They also consider staffing, patient volume, technologies available to diagnose and treat patients, and other factors.”
The Best Hospitals scorecard is broken into four areas:
- Outcomes (37.5%) — Outcomes includes two metrics: survival and discharge to home. Survival looks at a hospital’s success in keeping patients alive 30 days after admission. Discharge to home looks at the number of patients sent home post treatment, rather than to another facility or hospice care.
- Structure (30%) — This refers to hospital resources allocated directly to patient care. Examples include nurse staffing, patient volume, key technologies and patient services, as well as special statuses conferred by agencies such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center and National Cancer Institute.
- Patient Experience (5%) — Patient experience is used to assess the patient-reported outcomes of care at hospitals eligible for the rankings. This measure reflects the patient experience of care as reported on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems
- Expert Opinion (27.5%) — This is the “reputation” part of the scorecard. Surveys are sent to more than 200,000 board-certified physicians annually asking their opinion on which hospitals provide the best care for patients with challenging conditions. A hospital’s expert opinion score is based on the average number of nominations from the three most recent annual surveys.
When evaluating this year’s Best Hospitals for Cancer list, you will notice that the hospitals near the top score the same in outcomes and patient experience, with minor differences in structure scoring. Keenan says those differences can easily come down to how items such as nurse to patient ratio or patient services are reported by the individual hospital and the methodology used by U.S. News to score them.
“The important takeaway from the Best Hospitals list is that Moffitt is continuing to provide quality care and support services to our patients, and we will continue to improve and influence cancer care for Florida residents and patients beyond our state lines,” said Keenan.