Posted: Jul 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM [Jul 25, 2012]
July 25, 2012
Re: "UMHS declines in national rankings," by Katie Burke, Daily Staff Reporter, The Michigan Daily, Monday, July 23, 2012
Gary Baldwin, technology editor of HealthLeaders magazine, notes, "Pardon my skepticism, but you will not convince me that it is the duty of American magazines to go about ranking the performance of American hospitals. To me, such surveys are little more than publicity stunts masquerading as serious journalism. Now, if there are indeed "best" hospitals, and they can be ranked, in order, like so many movies' box office volumes, then should there not be, by extension, a corresponding list of the "worst" hospitals? My fickle reporter mind insists on going to these facilities and imagining what the place looks like. I bet U.S. News would not be in the waiting room."
In reference to the recently released U.S. News and World Report survey results, I'm confounded by the explanation quoted in your story of Doug Strong, chief executive officer of the University's Hospitals and Health Centers, of the U-M drop of three notches in one year. He attributes the change in methodology that U.S. News and World Report applied to compile the recent list. Does this mean the previous methodology which rated the U-M hospitals higher was flawed? He admits that previous methodology differentiated hospitals on reputation among physicians nationwide which, to me, invites subjectivity.
What's next? The Police Gazette grades college police and security departments? What methodology do you think they will utilize? A possible Survey question: "Those who support a reduction in crime, please explain your reasoning in your answer."
If your intent is a future in journalism, please begin to consider the credibility of the source of the information and how it's obtained and analyzed. And what a dramatic change in methodology says about previous results.
Dale R. Leslie U-M, '71