The CHD journey, and the decisions that come along with it, can often feel like an unsolvable puzzle.
With the proper resources and tools, however, that puzzle becomes easier to piece together. Each tool or resource is just one piece of the puzzle for patients and families facing congenital heart disease.
One tool patients and families may be familiar with is the US News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals Ranking program, but understanding the information and what it means for their specific case can be a challenge for families. Some may interpret the rankings to be a true reflection of the quality of care they might receive at a given center, but in truth, the rankings only provide some of the picture – one piece of the puzzle.
In February of this year, we shared some of the changes coming to the hospital ranking Program as a result of our advocacy efforts, including the public disclosure of their process for how the regional rankings are applied.
With the publishing of this year’s rankings, we remind you this is only one of many tools you can use to have a conversation with your care team and should not be used as the sole factor when making decisions about your care.
It is hard to capture all the details of what goes into a ranking system, and we ask parents to use caution when using the rankings alone to compare two hospitals. These rankings can be misleading for patients and families with regard to a center’s outcomes and performance in certain specialties, and we encourage all patients and families to use this tool, along with other resources and care team expertise, when making important treatment decisions.
Where to receive care is one of the most important decisions a family can make. Conquering CHD has a strong commitment to transparency and ensuring patients and families have essential information at their fingertips when they need it to assist them in making the best choice for their family.
We provide several crucial resources to help patients and families make informed decisions; each contributing its own piece to the decision-making puzzle. Our Hospital Navigator takes existing data from participating centers and presents it in an easy-to-understand format to help guide discussions with potential care centers. We also urge parents to ask questions about what an individual center’s data means specifically for their diagnosis, like those found in our Guided Questions Tool. Make sure you have ALL the pieces of the puzzle before making decisions about your care or the care of a loved one.
The work continues. These important changes at U.S. News indicate our voices are being heard. They are an important step to improving how patients and families access information about hospitals close to them. If you would like to join our advocacy efforts, sign-up for our email list on Transparency and Public Reporting. Be the first to receive news on the annual Summit, in addition to calls to action.