By Dr. Brian McDonough

Philadelphia (CBS) — It is called quality, a big buzzword in medicine these days.

There are several companies that measure quality and it can be a lucrative business because a growing number of people are turning to their computers to look at quality indicators for their doctors and for the hospitals they might go to.

One of the biggest companies measuring quality is Health Grades. Every year it reports on the quality of care at almost 5,000 hospitals in the US based on mortality and complication data.

But there is a problem. Although results can be made public, researchers at Yale find that information from Health Grades is not publicly shared and therefore cannot be peer reviewed. Without the peer-review process, any potential problems with methodology or analysis of the data can’t be detected.

In other words, ratings are performed but there are no outside agencies to verify results.

Let the buyer beware.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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