Criteria for Evaluating Ophthalmology Departments Based on the U.S. News & World Report Ranking System
26 February 2016 (online)
Purpose To propose a methodology for ranking U.S. clinical ophthalmology programs which utilizes an existing framework of both objective structural (or resource) information and outcome data as well as subjective reputational scores currently used by U.S. News & World Report for most clinical specialties.
Design Evidence-based manuscript.
Topic The U.S. News & World Report annual “Best Hospital Rankings by Specialty” provides the public with information regarding the relative strengths of U.S. medical and surgical departments in providing care and treatments for patients with complex diseases. For most medical and surgical specialties, these rankings are determined by considering a combination of objective structural (or resource) information and outcome data along with subjective reputational scores.
Clinical Relevance In ophthalmology, U.S. News & World Report annual rankings are currently generated only from subjective reputational scores submitted by a small number of voting ophthalmologists. No objective clinical or outcome data are considered.
Literature Reviewed Methodology for determining “Best Hospital Rankings by Specialty” utilized by RTI International on behalf of U.S. News & World Report.
Results The ranking system of U.S. departments of ophthalmology presently employed by U.S. News & World Report presents an incomplete picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the departments listed.
Conclusion With the changes in health insurance that increasingly shift decision-making responsibility and cost to consumers, providing mechanisms to allow the public to make informed decisions is an emerging imperative for ophthalmology and other specialties. Revision of the current “reputation-only” ranking system used for ophthalmology to also include objective clinical and outcome data would benefit patients by providing more accurate and impartial information on which to base their eye care decisions.