Healthcare News & Insights

U.S. News & World Report releases new Best Hospitals list

After a brief delay, U.S. News & World Report has issued its annual ranking of the best hospitals in the country. And due to some changes in its methodology, there are a few new facilities being recognized this year. 

The 2017-18 Best Hospitals list was initially scheduled for release on Aug 1. However, according to an article from STAT News, data errors caused U.S. News to hold the list for an additional week while it fixed the results.

Methodology updates

Data issues may have happened because U.S. News used more data than ever before to compile some of this year’s rankings, according to its explanation of this year’s methodology.

Usually, the publication uses three years’ worth of Medicare data for its rankings of hospital performance with common procedures and conditions – but for the new list, it looked at five years of information about 60 million hospitalizations.

Other changes to this year’s methodology favored hospitals that regularly treat patients from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. When looking at mortality rates to calculate patients’ chances of survival after receiving specialty care, U.S. News performed risk adjustment to account for the impact of patients’ socioeconomic status on their outcomes.

Additionally, U.S. News refined how it classifies transfer patients so hospitals aren’t penalized for taking high-risk patients from other hospitals that don’t have the resources to care for them. It also changed its formula to better account for differences in patient volume and Medicare Advantage enrollment.

Stand-out performance

Per a news release about this year’s list, over 4,500 medical centers were evaluated for their performance in 23 different areas, such as cancer, diabetes, geriatrics and orthopedics.

The 20 highest-ranking hospitals earned a spot on the Honor Roll. Top overall honors went to the Mayo Clinic for the second year in a row, followed by the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Rounding out the list are:

  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor
  • Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
  • New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York
  • Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital, Stanford, CA
  • Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
  • Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  • UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh
  • University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia
  • Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC
  • Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
  • NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, and
  • Mayo Clinic Phoenix.

In addition, over 150 hospitals earned a national ranking in at least one specialty area. And more than 530 hospitals were recognized as one of U.S. News’ Best Regional Hospitals. These community hospitals were ranked based on their outcomes when delivering both complex and common care, compared to other facilities in their geographic region.

With the Best Regional Hospitals, facilities’ rankings for procedures and conditions were emphasized more than their rankings for specialty care. This was done so patients could get an idea of where they could go locally to receive excellent care when undergoing more common surgeries like hip and knee replacement surgery. In some cases, outcomes can be better for patients who stay close to home for relatively minor procedures.

Next steps for hospitals

Looking at both the regional rankings and nationally ranked facilities, hospitals can find plenty of inspiration to improve their own performance in the areas evaluated by U.S. News.

Because patients are increasingly using these and other rankings to choose where to schedule elective procedures, it’s key for facilities to use them as tools to jumpstart initiatives designed to boost quality of care.

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