U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday announced its 26th annual list of America's "Best Hospitals," with Massachusetts General Hospital earning the top spot this year after ranking second last year.
For this year's list, U.S. News evaluated 4,716 hospitals across 16 medical specialties and identified 137 hospital and health systems that earned high enough scores to be included in the rankings. U.S. News also included several additional affiliated specialty hospitals or specialty-focused units on its list.
The Advisory Board Company congratulates the many members named to this year's list of "Best Hospitals." More than 95% of all honored organizations are Advisory Board members.
How hospitals were ranked
Twelve of the specialty rankings were largely data-driven and included survival rates, adverse events, and nurse staffing levels, among other measures. Those 12 specialty rankings also considered a reputational survey of specialists.
Meanwhile, U.S. News ranked the remaining four specialties—ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology—based only on a reputational survey of specialists. The full rankings are here.
To qualify for this year's 12 data-driven lists, hospitals had to meet at least one of four criteria: be a teaching hospital, be affiliated with a medical school, have at least 200 beds, or have at least 100 beds and offer four or more types of medical technology considered by U.S. News to be key to high-quality care, such as PET/CT scanners and precision radiation therapies.
In addition, hospitals had to meet a volume requirement that included a minimum number of fee-for-service Medicare inpatient discharges for certain procedures and conditions between 2011 and 2013, or hospitals had to have received nominations from at least 1% of specialists responding to U.S. News surveys conducted between 2013 and 2015.
Daugherty: How to think about hospital rankings
The 1,897 hospitals that met these requirements in at least one specialty then received a score between 0 and 100 based on four factors:
- Survival rate (32.5% of the score);
- Care-related factors such as nursing and patient services (30%);
- Reputation (27.5%); and
- Patient safety (10%).
For the reputation-based rankings, U.S. News asked physicians in each specialty to list hospitals they consider among the best in their field for difficult cases. Hospitals cited by at least 5% of surveyed physicians in a specialty were included in its rankings.
"Patients deserve high-quality information on hospitals," says Ben Harder, U.S. News's chief of health analysis. "We strive to provide them with the most comprehensive data available so they can make more informed decisions together with their doctor about where to undergo treatment."
U.S. News also assembled an "Honor Roll" recognizing 15 facilities that achieved high scores in six or more specialties. The Honor Roll institutions, ranked from one to 15, are:
1. Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
2. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota)
3. Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)
3. UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles)
5. Cleveland Clinic (Ohio)
6. Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston)
7. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell (New York)
8. UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco)
9. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian (Philadelphia)
10. Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University (St. Louis)
11. Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago)
12. NYU Langone Medical Center (New York)
13. UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
14. Duke University Hospital (Durham, North Carolina)
15. Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital (Stanford, California)
Industry reacts to latest rankings
"It's gratifying to see [Massachusetts General Hospital] recognized as the best in the nation and for the Brigham to receive its highest-ever ranking," said David Torchiana, CEO of Partners HealthCare, which owns both facilities.
Mayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy said, "These rankings reinforce our commitment to provide comprehensive care and a seamless experience to every patient ... We owe our success to staff members who dedicate themselves daily to this shared mission."
Ronald Peterson—president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System—joked that after the facility placed first for 21 years between 1991 to 2011 and again in 2013, "We had a significant run for so many years and then fell off the wagon." He added, "We're still very pleased to be close to the top" (Cohn, "Picture of Health," Baltimore Sun, 7/21; Mayo Clinic release, 7/21; Harder, U.S. News & World Report, 7/21; U.S. News release, 7/21).
Resources to help you become a top hospital
Infographic: Four principles for supporting evidence-based practice
Case study: Gaps in care? Gone with Crimson's help.