The Lown Institute Hospitals Index is the first ranking to apply overuse criteria to over 3,100 U.S. hospitals to assess their success at avoiding tests and procedures that offer little to no clinical benefit to patients. Related research has been published in JAMA Network Open (April 2021).
We examined twelve low-value services, such as hysterectomy for benign disease, coronary stents for stable heart disease, and head imaging for fainting, chosen based on their validation in previous overuse studies. (press release | methodology)
Watch our launch video featuring experts Mike Chernew, Rita Redberg, and Mark Smith along with hospital leaders Pete Healy from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Gary Kaplan from Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle.
These hospitals are the best in their state (ranked #1) at avoiding overuse.
These are the best hospitals (ranked #1) at avoiding overuse of each of the 12 low-value services that are measured. Only hospitals with the capacity to do four or more services were ranked.
These are the best major teach hospitals at avoiding overuse. Major teaching hospitals are defined as hospitals that are members of the Council of Teaching Hospitals (COTH) of the Association of American Medical Colleges and are affiliated with a Medical school as reported to the American Medical Association (AMA).
The 2021 Lown Institute Hospitals Index avoiding overuse metric measures overuse at over 3,100 hospitals. We use data from the 100% Medicare claims database from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2018. We measure 12 low-value services, four tests and eight procedures (see below). Only hospitals with the capacity to do four or more services were ranked. Hospitals’ overuse score for each service is based on the rate of overuse as well as the volume of overuse. The overuse composite ranking is based on all services, with more weight placed on the services that make up the larger share of overuse.
Arthroscopic knee surgery – Surgery to remove damaged cartilage or bone in the knee using an arthroscope (tiny camera). Defined as overuse for patients with osteoarthritis or “runner’s knee” (damaged cartilage). Excluding patients with meniscal tear.
Carotid artery imaging for fainting – A test to screen for carotid (neck) artery disease. Considered overuse for patients where syncope (fainting) is the primary diagnosis, and there is no history of syncope in the past two years. Excluding patients with stroke or mini-stroke, retinal vascular occlusion/ischemia, or nervous and musculoskeletal symptoms.
Carotid endarterectomy – Procedure to remove plaque buildup from a carotid (neck) artery in a patient to prevent stroke. Considered overuse when performed on female patients without stroke symptoms or history of stroke.
Coronary artery stenting – Procedure to place a stent or balloon in a coronary artery. Defined as overuse when performed on patients with stable heart disease (not having a heart attack or unstable angina). Excluding patients with past diagnosis of unstable angina.
EEG for fainting – A test of the electrical activity of the brain. Considered overuse for patients where syncope (fainting) is the primary diagnosis, and there is no history of syncope in the past two years.
EEG for headache – A test of the electrical activity of the brain. Defined as overuse for patients with headache as the primary diagnosis on the claim and no history of headache in the past two years. Excluding patients with epilepsy and recurrent seizures, convulsions, and abnormal involuntary movements.
Head imaging for fainting – Considered overuse for patients where syncope (fainting) is the primary diagnosis, and there is no history of syncope in the past two years. Excluding patients with epilepsy or convulsions, cerebrovascular diseases, head or face trauma, altered mental status, nervous and musculoskeletal system symptoms, and history of stroke.
Hysterectomy – Procedure to remove the uterus. Considered overuse for patients without a diagnosis of cancer or carcinoma in situ.
Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filter – Procedure to place a filter (a medical device) in the large vein in the abdomen to prevent blood clots from moving to the lungs. Considered overuse for all patients except those with history of multiple pulmonary embolism.
Renal artery stenting – Procedure to place a stent or balloon in the renal (kidney) artery. Considered overuse for patients with high blood pressure or plaque buildup in the artery. Excluding patients that had diagnosis of fibromuscular dysplasia of the renal artery (abnormal twisting of the blood vessels).
Spinal fusion/laminectomy – Procedure to fuse vertebrae together (spinal fusion) or remove part of a vertebra (laminectomy). Defined as overuse for patients with low-back pain, excluding patients with radicular symptoms, herniated disc, radicular pain, scoliosis; also excluding prior two occurrences within 30 days of radiculopathy, sciatica, or lumbago.
Vertebroplasty – Procedure to inject cement into the vertebrae to relieve pain from spinal fractures. Considered overuse for patients with spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis. Excluding patients with bone cancer, myeloma, or hemangioma.
Media inquiries should be directed to Aaron Toleos, vice president of communications for the Lown Institute, at firstname.lastname@example.org.