Since the inception of the Best Hospitals rankings in 1990, the annual U.S. News physician survey has been a component of U.S. News’ process of assessing hospital quality, alongside clinical outcomes and other relevant measures. The purpose of the survey is to quantify the collective opinion of physicians with expertise in the specialties U.S. News assesses. The resulting measure of expert opinion reflects the judgment a doctor might exercise in making a referral, and it complements the numerous objective quality measures on which the rankings are primarily based.
This year, U.S. News will change (a) how their survey is disseminated to physicians and (b) how they calculate expert opinion scores from their responses.
U.S. News will retire the mail survey and use only the online survey starting in 2022. The timing of the 2022 survey has not been finalized and, as in years past, will not be announced before it begins.
Changes to Calculation of Expert Opinion: To better differentiate hospitals based on physicians’ opinions, U.S. News will change how they score physicians’ nominations this coming year. They will use data not only about each doctor’s current hospital affiliations, but also where they worked in the past, to construct a detailed profile of each hospital’s population of nominators. Under the new scoring methodology, hospitals that are highly regarded among unaffiliated physicians will outperform hospitals with support coming primarily from their own physicians, all else being equal. Specifics of the new scoring methodology will be determined after the conclusion of the upcoming physician survey and will be described in the 2022-23 methodology report.