Hospital and physician rating systems, such as Medicare’s Hospital CompareU.S. News and World Report’s “Best Hospitals,” and ProPublica’s Surgeon Scorecard, have been variously praised and pilloried by different stakeholders. Proponents of such rating systems argue that patients and families deserve information about the quality of care provided by their hospitals and physicians, even if imperfect. Opponents argue that the information contained in these rating systems is too inadequate or inaccurate to provide meaningful information, and thus should not be made public.

Who is right? On which side should health care leaders err?

Let’s take each set of arguments in turn…..more