The actual readmission rate of a hospital can be measured and compared to similar settings such as other hospitals within the same area or with similar populations. This comparison allows hospitals the opportunity to improve and gain knowledge from hospitals that are performing well.
Use of a benchmarking website such as CMS Hospital Compare is one way to compare the actual readmission rate. This tool allows hospitals to compare themselves to regional and national averages in terms of readmission rates. It also gives hospitals a percentile rating, which is compared to hospitals that are in the same geographic region and have similar populations.
A hospital’s performance is measured by comparing it to that of other hospitals within the same category. If a hospital’s 30-day readmission is 15%, and it has a percentile rank of 80% then that means the hospital did better than 80% other hospitals who had similar patient populations.
It is important to note that percentile ranking does not provide information about the actual rate, but rather how the hospital’s rate compares to other hospitals. If, for example, many hospitals have lower readmission rates than a particular hospital but the percentile rank is low then that hospital will have low percentile rankings.
Summary: Comparing actual readmissions rates to those of other similar settings, and using percentile rankings can assist hospitals in identifying areas that need improvement. They also learn from hospitals with high performance. Percentile ranking is a useful tool to help compare hospitals with other similar hospitals. It should, however, be used along with the actual readmission rate to provide a more comprehensive view of performance.