While popular with consumers and coveted among hospital marketers, the U.S. News rankings have generated questions about the objectivity of measures. In a study published in last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a Cleveland physician said the rankings were based on reputations that did not necessarily correlate with objective quality.
"I was thinking that if we did professional football this way, we would just say let's give the Super Bowl trophy to the Dallas Cowboys without them playing any games because they have a national reputation for being a good team," Ashwini Sehgal, MD, wrote. "I think the main message . . . is that the rankings are not really good measures of quality of care. They are simply measures of national reputation."