Ranking the performance of a public hospital has always been fraught with danger. Hospitals have much at stake with the release of performance data, including everything from funding allocations to the bonuses received by top executives.
Let’s say there is much incentive to get creative in the public reporting of such metrics.
In recent years the media have made much about hospital standardized mortality ratios (HSMR), a measure imported from UK that looks at the number of unexpected deaths that take place in a hospital.
Now a study funded by Oshawa’s Lakeridge Health suggests that the HSMR may be subject to considerable gaming to improve the image of certain hospitals.