Measuring what matters: How hospital rankings are evolving

Last year, the Lown Institute, a Brookline, Mass.-based nonpartisan healthcare think tank, broke new ground with the release of the Lown Hospitals Index that includes metrics such as racial inclusivity, pay equity and community benefit spending. The institute is now releasing updated 2021 results for the full index starting with the May 4 announcement of the top hospitals in the U.S. for avoiding overuse of low-value tests and procedures. "What we're trying to show is the hospitals at the top of our list are showing that it can be done. It is quite possible. So, for us the rationale for doing this is to show by example what can be done and then participate in what needs to be a broader movement to have American healthcare to move in that direction. It's only when we're able to do that will we be able to solve the deeper problems in healthcare, including affordability," said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute. More

Southern and for-profit hospitals more frequently deliver unnecessary tests and procedures: analysis

Overuse of unnecessary healthcare services was most common among for-profit hospitals, nonteaching hospitals and those located in the southern U.S., according to a new review of Medicare claims conducted by the Lown Institute. The study found more than 1.3 million low-value tests and procedures delivered by 3,351 U.S. hospitals between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2017—a rate of one such unnecessary service delivered to an older adult every 80 seconds. More

Hospitals in South Fare Worst in Avoiding Low-Value Tests, Analysis Finds

More than 1 million tests and procedures that Medicare patients received in hospitals over a three-year period were likely not needed, according to an analysis released today. Most of the top performing hospitals in the Lown Institute Hospital Index are not from large, well-known health systems that appear on the annual rankings of U.S. News and World Report—in fact, only Cleveland Clinic, which ranked 58th on the Lown list, is on the U.S. News honor roll, according to the a statement on findings. More

Report: Worst Hospitals for Unnecessary Procedures

In what was called a first-of-its-kind list, the Lown Institute on Tuesday released the names of the worst 50 and best 50 hospitals ranked by how frequently their patients had any of 12 procedures largely regarded as unnecessary. Lown president Vikas Saini, MD, said for the hospitals with the most overuse, "it appears there is a culture. The evidence that these procedures are not useful hasn't penetrated or is being ignored." Saini warned that overuse isn't just a matter of the hospitals performing more revenue-generating procedures; patients could be harmed. "When you're getting stuff done that's not necessary, you are subjecting yourself to a risk of harm, and even if the harm is very small, even if the risk is small, it's still real," he said, especially if you're the unfortunate person that develops that complication. More

US hospitals overused elective procedures and tests before pandemic, report shows. Experts say focus must return to patient safety.

The Lown Institute, a health care think tank, found more than a million tests and procedures performed in hospitals on Medicare patients from 2016-2018 met established criteria for overuse.

“These results are if anything the low end of the estimate,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute. “It speaks to the power of habit, weak penetration of actual science and certainly a lot of prominent financial incentives for hospitals and doctors without any counter-balancing information that patients could use to push back.”


Is your hospital performing unnecessary tests and procedures?

"Like so much in American healthcare, the practice outran the evidence: there have been randomized trials that have shown that vertebroplasty for osteoporosis in the elderly is not an effective therapy," Saini said. "New people who are getting into the field may not do it, but people who always did it, they're always going to say, 'Well, I don't trust that evidence, it works for me.' There's a lot of that in medicine."

Saini said it will take doctors to personally decide to no longer order unnecessary tests and procedures.

"But hospitals are also often willing participants because some of this needs fancy, expensive equipment," Saini said. "So when the hospital incurs a capital cost, you get a situation where now you got to pay off that investment, and I think it's a sort of mutual back scratching that happens."

The Institute wants to see doctors and hospital administrators take a hard look at what procedures they do first as the pandemic recedes in much of the country and elective surgeries begin again. Saini wants to see unnecessary tests integrated into safety and quality rankings, instead of just including measures like complications and infections.

"Whether or not you really even need this care ought to be one of the fundamental pillars of what quality means," Saini said. "But there has not been a national framework in which, for example, the Joint Commission on Accreditation, or NQF, or any of these folks, really made this a fundamental plank of their mission."


Report: Houston ranks among the worst cities for unnecessary medical treatments

Houston boasts of being home to the Texas Medical Center, the world's biggest medical complex. Yet Houston's medical community also holds a distinction that's hardly boast-worthy: It's the worst major metro area in Texas for unnecessary health care tests and procedures. "Overuse in American hospitals is a pervasive problem that needs to be addressed," Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, says in a news release. "Hospitals want to do better, and these objective measures of performance can help them move forward."


PRESS RELEASE: Unnecessary hospital tests and procedures put hundreds of thousands at risk, new analysis reveals

Every 80 seconds, a hospital in the U.S. delivers a low-value test or procedure to an older adult, putting hundreds of thousands at risk of harm, according to a new analysis from the Lown Institute, a health care think tank. The Institute today released a ranking of over 3,100 U.S. hospitals that examines success at avoiding the use of tests and procedures that offer little to no clinical benefit. More