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Duke Doctors Say Hospital Rankings Overlook Patient Economic Status

Stethoscope lying on papers with a pen in background
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Hospital rankings released each year may not account for regional differences and socioeconomic factors that impact patient health, a new article suggests.

Organizations publish ranked lists of the country’s best hospitals every year in an effort to guide patients to high-quality care. One of the most visible, U.S. News and World, released their 2020-21 Best Hospitals Honor Roll on Tuesday.

But a new article from two Duke Health doctors and a Duke University scholar suggests these rankings fail to account for regional differences and socioeconomic factors in underlying patient health. Dr. Jonathan A. Bae, Lesley H. Curtis, and Dr. Adrian F. Hernandez co-authored the paper. Host Anita Rao talks with Dr. Bae about centering patient experience in measuring healthcare quality and how using a rating system instead of a ranking system could start that process.

Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
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