"Yes, I believe they are confused, because some people want to go to U.S. News & World Report, or they want to go to a doctor they see in a magazine that has been listed as America's best orthopedic surgeon just because a bunch of other doctors think that's the case," Marks says.
"But that's not objective. And it's important for consumers to know what objective measures are, process measures, outcome measures, clinical quality and safety issues, to familiarize themselves with those to help inform their decision about which doctors and hospitals to utilize."
Asked what she thought of the Healthgrades ranking, a spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association said in an e-mail response, “Hospitals support providing information on quality and patient safety so that consumers can make an informed choice with their health care. Patients should use all available tools at their disposal to identify which health care decisions are right for them, such as talking with friends and family and consulting with doctors, nurses and other health care providers. The new Healthgrades rating system is merely one tool of many patients can use when making healthcare decisions."
Even Healthgrades has several types of products. For example, in addition to this 2013 edition of Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence, Healthgrades also publishes annual lists of America's 50 Best Hospitals, and America's 100 Best Hospitals, which may include many of the 262 hospitals if they have been distinguished award winners consistently over the last two or four years.
This year, Healthgrades further divided its Distinguished Hospitals List by state. For example, Delaware and Montana, followed by Colorado, South Dakota, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and New Hampshire have the largest percentage of hospitals nabbing the award.
Half the hospitals in Delaware and Montana and between 30% and 40% of hospitals in the other states, made the cut on based on 27 procedures or conditions, from abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs, to valve repair or replacement surgeries.
No hospital in Alabama, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wyoming made the cut.