Why This Matters


But how you measure "good" matters.

The coronavirus has made it clearer than ever before: hospitals are vital to America’s communities. Whether it's a medical emergency or recurring treatment for chronic disease, people rely on hospitals in times of need and trust them with their lives. When hospitals do a great job, communities gain access to safe, affordable care and people are free to live longer, more productive lives.

But the pandemic has also revealed hospital weaknesses: a troublesome dependency on elective procedures, a need to address the health and social conditions that make some groups more vulnerable to harm, and a lack of transparency from hospital leadership on important issues related to fairness and safety.

To help hospitals excel at serving patients and communities, to address gaps in existing rankings, and to provide a means for greater public accountability, we created the Lown Institute Hospitals Index. People’s lives depend on hospitals making the right decisions. Let’s make sure they are guided by the most relevant tools possible, tools that measure what matters.

What you measure matters

People's lives depend on hospitals being good at their jobs. But how you define and measure “good” really matters.



Hospitals are expected to care for all the people in their surrounding community who need medical treatment, regardless of their income, race, or education level. The Lown Index is the first hospital ranking to take into account how well hospitals serve people of lower income or education levels, and people of color.

Evaluating Low-Value Care

Hospitals routinely provide health care services that are unnecessary and often harmful. This overuse, also known as low-value care, contributes to financial waste and needless patient suffering. The Lown Institute Hospitals Index is the first hospital ranking to evaluate hospitals based on their delivery of 13 commonly overused services, including unnecessary hysterectomy, head imaging for simple headaches, and more.

Community Benefit

Nonprofit hospitals are expected to provide charity care and other community benefits, to maintain their tax-exempt status. However, the amount that hospitals spend on free care and other community health needs varies widely. The Lown Institute Hospitals Index is the first hospital ranking to take into account how much hospitals spend on community benefits, as well as the the proportion of low-income patients they serve.

Shannon Brownlee
Senior Vice President
Lown Institute

The Lown Index shows that it's entirely possible for hospitals to perform well on all three of our categories, even within a broken system."

Understand the Rankings

The Lown Index rolls up scores from 42 detailed metrics, 7 components, and 3 categories to create an overall composite score.

Featured Lists

The best hospital in your city? Hospitals with the best pay equity? Here’s a collection of our most interesting findings.