Here we go again and I’m sure I don’t win any scoring points with the website since I have found discrepancies on their site as blogged on this site over the last couple of years.  It all started with me with finding my former doctor, who had been dead for 8 years still listed on their site and I’m sure some of the other issues have been fixed when they appear here as well:)  I’m not a big fan up front about some of the statistics we see out there today and more on that later in the post. 

Even the AMA and myself had a little interview about that one, as I do try to keep folks aware of sources of flawed data we encounter on the web and it’s growing.  We knew marketing was going to improve at Healthgrades when they were merged with a marketing firm as why else would they merge?  The CEO of Healthgrades also joined the board of CPM marketing…and I guess since August they have hired their social media expert they were advertising for.  Here’s some back links for a little history.

HealthGrades to Merge with CPM Marketing–Will Their Data and Questionable Algorithms Will Be Improved For Consumers?

HealthGrades 'Best Hospital' List Algorithm Needs Work Again - Flawed Data

HealthGrades And Other MD Rating and Referral Sites List “Dead Doctors” on Their MD Information Pages And Even Include the Insurance Plans the “Dead Doctors” Honor

I also said not too long ago that all these “doctor and hospital rating sites’ should entertain giving it up as the amount of flawed data increases out there as credible data is being combined with non-credible data and some of the results we are seeing are “incredibly flawed data” as when you bring in social network information and poll, etc. people can lie their fanny off.  Polls are usually done in an effort to somewhat sell you something anyway.  They bug me anyway on the web and not very often will I opt to participate as it all depends on who’s doing it, what the poll is and if I see any value and for about 95% what I see out there, there no value and a some are created just to scrape your data and sell it, so why bother. 

Last time the report came out it nixed all the hospitals in the Boston area and we heard about that and rightly so.  It’s all about context and again what they are trying to sell you and thus I still maintain these rankings are useless as formulas, algorithms and math are in the hands of the creator.  I said earlier more on this and I’ll include one of my absolute favorite videos from Professor Siefe of NYU, who also wrote the book, “Proofiness, the Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception” and the points he made and a bit of what I say here is going to be growing importance in the near future as dirty code, code for profit, complex business plans that event he companies an banks that use them don’t understand, etc. are going to become more main stage.  It’s been going on for years and it’s time to again “look at the context” and see what message is really being relayed.  If you watch Charlie’s video, he’ll tell you and he’s a smarter than me and it’s eye opener to make you think and wonder if you have been “Algo Duped”. 

The public is not comfortable with math and thus you get duped.  People have a tendency to hold  quantitative mathematical formulas in high esteem he states even if it is all bogus.  Serious well trained researchers fall in here too.  We have a have a habit of finding quantitative as valuable, he says just look at the newspapers.  So again in reference to this grading system I’m with him and the same thoughts.  See the example he gives on the algorithm written to tell you how perfect your “butt” is…and boy does it get play <grin>.  How can there be a standard for the perfect butt…making sense yet?  Formulas become national news.  If it has a square root in the formula, oh it must be right…not <grin>. 

The media does not understand the formulas themselves and nor do they try to for the most part.  So am I holding my breath and anxiously awaiting this new ranking…no… like I said just give this stuff up.  A listing of doctors and hospitals with patient comments, etc. is fine but again the rakings with the amount of flawed data out there are like like a lot of other things on the web are quickly becoming less valuable in nature and fewer people actually even have time for them…that’s reality as it is today.  

I have a series called the Attack of the Killer Algorithms that addresses analytics and their scoring so you can look beyond just this issue and see everyday examples.  Predictive analytics too is an area that is just ripe for abuse as well as most of the data is evaluating trending information but again you have a lot of combinations of both credible and non credible data presented in a lot of this and it’s hard to distinguish the difference with methodologies of presentation today.  BD

Quality of care at 4,500 U.S. hospitals is being sliced, diced, scrutinized, and ranked yet again with a new and significantly expanded quality ranking system from Healthgrades.
This time the Denver-based company, which has provided quality information about healthcare providers for 14 years, offers state-by-state analysis online for up to 28 types of care, 13 safety measures, and five-year trends for four conditions.

After applying its algorithms to the data, Healthgrades gives hospitals one, three, or five gold stars on up to 28 types of care—from appendectomy to pulmonary embolism to valve repair—to indicate whether patient outcomes of were worse than expected, as expected, or better than expected.


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