Healthcare News & Insights

U.S. News & World Report updates Best Hospitals list

Right on the heels of the new star ratings released by Medicare, another popular rankings system just updated its annual rankings of the best hospitals in various specialties. U.S. News & World Report has released the 2016-17 version of its Best Hospitals list. 

GettyImages-173240127Now in its 27th year, according to a news release, the Best Hospitals list compares the performance of almost 5,000 hospitals across the country with treating conditions from cancer to heart disease, along with patient outcomes for a variety of surgeries and procedures.

Top-performing hospitals

In past years, the best 10 hospitals across multiple specialties made the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. However, this year, U.S. News expanded the Honor Roll to spotlight the top 20 performers.

Topping the Honor Roll this year is the renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The Cleveland Clinic ranked second. Last year’s top hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, ranked third this time around. Johns Hopkins Hospital was fourth, and UCLA Medical Center was fifth.

Other hospitals that made the Honor Roll include UCSF Medical Center, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian and Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Best Hospitals List also honors the top performers in three specialties:

  • Cancer – The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Cardiology and heart surgery – The Cleveland Clinic
  • Orthopedics – The Hospital for Special Surgery

In all, 153 hospitals earned high national rankings in at least one specialty.

Changes & updates

There were several significant changes to the Best Hospitals rankings this year, according to an FAQ about the list.

U.S. News recently added rankings for hospitals’ performance with providing “common care” to its list, and it’s continuing to update the methodology for those ratings. For starters, the ratings are no longer referred to as “Best Hospitals for Common Care,” because some felt the term implied more trivial medical issues. These ratings are now titled “Best Hospitals Procedure and Condition Ratings”.

When the former Common Care ratings were introduced, they focused on procedures and conditions such as hip replacements and congestive heart failure. This year, U.S. News added four new procedures to the list: aortic valve surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, lung cancer surgery and colon cancer surgery.

The rankings on this year’s list were also weighted slightly differently than lists of the past. U.S. News made additional scoring adjustments to account for the socioeconomic demographics of each hospital’s patient mix, and it also gave hospitals extra credit if they voluntarily made key information public regarding their performance in cardiology and heart surgery.

In addition, U.S. News removed one element from the patient safety portion of hospitals’ scores: bedsore rates. Since the organization was missing important patient data to put those rates into perspective, it removed them from consideration entirely.

Because bedsore rates were removed, U.S. News reduced the impact of patient safety measures on a hospital’s final score by making them only 5% of the total score, down from 10% last year. It placed more focus on a patient’s chance of survival instead.

Hospitals’ next move

It’s important to be aware of where your hospital falls on the U.S. News & World Report list. That way, you can build on successes, and correct any areas where performance is lacking before they make a negative impact on your bottom line.

Seeing where your peers rank is also helpful when creating strategies to improve the quality of your facility’s care. Knowing how other hospitals are excelling can help you figure out if you can successfully adapt any of their practices for your facility.

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