Interesting article published in JAMA relating to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposed star-rating system. CMS recently announced that the agency plans to release a new star rating that will be far more comprehensive, combining approximately 60 different measures into a single star rating..Will it be as useful to consumers? The author, Ashish K. Jha, writes It depends on how well it holds up to examination. The ratings combine both useful measures, such as mortality and patient experience, with flawed ones, such as patient safety indicators calculated using claims data. CMS might have done better by just stopping with the patient experience stars, lest they have a program with contradictory star ratings that create more confusion, diluting the progress made so far. In the complex world of measuring hospital quality, CMS’ system of hospital star ratings based on patient experience scores has been a good step forward. If used correctly, it can help steer patients to the right hospitals. But it has to be understood and used in context—namely, when comparing similar hospitals. The new ratings CMS is about to launch are far more comprehensive, including many more metrics. This may seem like a good idea, but it’s worth remembering that when it comes to quality measures, as in so many things in life, more isn’t better. Better is better. We need to focus on what we can measure well and, most important, focus on what matters most to patients.
Read more: The Stars of Hospital Care: Useful or a Distraction? JAMA