What journalists should know about ratings: Health journo blog

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Summary: “Journalists should take hospital ratings with a healthy dose of skepticism, according to experts at a recent AHCJ New York chapter event,” Liz Seegert writes on the blog of the Association of Health Care Journalists, examining the pluses and minuses of different ratings in the context of the overall discussion about ratings systems. “Simply looking at an institution’s overall rating is just the start. Reporting that without understanding what’s being rated and how ‘success’ is measured does a disservice to your audience. Ratings are far from perfect and are ever evolving. That leaves journalists in kind of a quandary, noted chapter president Trudy Lieberman. ‘What do we do about the ratings, how do we judge them, how do we use them in our stories and which ones should we use?’ Moderator Charles Ornstein, senior reporter at ProPublica, said he views hospital ratings like new chocolate studies. There’s never a long stretch between studies, and journalists never really know what to do with them. ‘You don’t want to confuse people, but you feel like you need to report on something.'” Liz Seegert, “What journalists should know about hospital ratings,” Association of Health Care Journalists.