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Penn Medicine has withdrawn from participation in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings for "Best Hospitals."

Credit: Mehak Dhaliwal

The University of Pennsylvania Health System announced today that it will discontinue any active participation in the annual U.S. News and World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings.

Penn Med cited “a greater need for transparency” and “access to more comprehensive quality data” as the reasons for discontinuing their active participation in a press release on June 26. Leaders within the hospital system hope to move forward by working with other health systems across the country to develop standardized measures for self-reporting quality and performance.

U.S. News can continue to rank Penn Med, but the hospital system will no longer submit information to the American Hospital Association’s annual survey, from which the publication draws data. They will also stop promoting any ranking content or purchasing the badges required to publicize rankings. 

For 16 consecutive years, Penn Med has consistently placed on the U.S. News “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll and ranked highly in regional lists. However, leaders believe the rankings fail to fully capture the array of services offered by Penn Med. 

“The ‘Best Hospitals’ rankings don’t account for all of the elements essential to improving patient outcomes, such as research, innovation, or value-based care,” Penn Med CEO Kevin Mahoney wrote in the press release. “Transparent metrics are an important tool for health systems to track and strengthen their efforts, but they should measure the full scope of operations dedicated to care delivery.” 

The “Best Hospitals” rankings only consider the inpatient hospital care of people insured by Medicare — who are typically over 65 or have long-term disabilities — meaning that the outpatient, in-home, telemedicine, and virtual services that make up the majority of Penn Med care are not assessed by the rankings.

Penn Med plans to develop a public-facing dashboard for quality of care reporting over the next year. The dashboard will consider data for all areas of care and will utilize evidence-based measures such as readmission and infection rates. It will also consider patients of all ages across various treatment settings. 

This dashboard will be updated annually and widely available online — accessible to current and prospective patients and their families, referring physicians, community organizations, policymakers, regulatory agencies, and others. 

“These measures do not help us deliver better care for our patients, and they incentivize health systems to expend resources both to compete for placement in the rankings and promote their position on the list,” Penn Med’s Chief Medical Officer Patrick Brennan wrote. “Now is the time to focus our efforts, resources, and workforce talent on delivering the very best care and measuring the most impactful elements in medicine.”