Comparing Consumer-Directed Hospital Rankings With STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database Outcomes

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Jawitz, Oliver K
Vekstein, Andrew M
Young, Rebecca
Vemulapalli, Sreekanth
Zwischenberger, Brittany A
Thibault, Dylan P
O'Brien, Sean
Shahian, David M
Badhwar, Vinay
Thourani, Vinod H
Jacobs, Jeffrey P
Smith, Peter K
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Background Public interest in stratifying hospital performance has led to the proliferation of commercial, consumer-oriented hospital rankings. In cardiac surgery, little is known about how these rankings correlate with clinical registry quality ratings.

Methods The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Adult Cardiac Surgery Database was queried for isolated coronary artery bypass grafting or coronary artery bypass grafting/valve patients at hospitals among the top 100 U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) Cardiology & Heart Surgery rankings from 2016 to 2020. Hospitals were grouped into deciles by risk-adjusted observed/expected (O/E) ratios for morbidity and mortality using the STS 2018 risk models. Agreement between STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database and USNWR ranked deciles was calculated by Bowker symmetry test. The association between each center’s annual change in STS O/E ratio and change in USNWR ranking was modeled in repeated measures regression analysis.

Results Inclusion criteria were met by 524 393 patients from 149 hospitals that ranked in USNWR top 100 at least once during the study period. There was no agreement between USNWR ranking and STS major morbidity and mortality O/E ratio ( P > .50 for all years). Analysis of patients undergoing surgery at the 65 hospitals that were consistently ranked in the top 100 during the study period demonstrated no association between annual change in hospital ranking and change in O/E ratio ( P all > .3).

Conclusions There was no agreement between annual USNWR hospital ranking and corresponding risk-adjusted STS morbidity or mortality. Furthermore, annual changes in USNWR rankings could not be accounted for using clinical outcomes. These findings suggest that factors unrelated to key surgical outcomes may be driving consumer-directed rankings.

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Annals of Thoracic Surgery
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Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Clinical sciences
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Cardiac & Cardiovascular Systems
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Jawitz, OK; Vekstein, AM; Young, R; Vemulapalli, S; Zwischenberger, BA; Thibault, DP; O'Brien, S; Shahian, DM; Badhwar, V; Thourani, VH; Jacobs, JP; Smith, PK, Comparing Consumer-Directed Hospital Rankings With STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database Outcomes, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 2023, 115 (2), pp. 533-540