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Best Hospital?

For 16 years, U.S. News & World Report has issued annual rankings of America’s medical centers, and for the last 15 of them, Johns Hopkins has been No. 1. (The first year, Mayo Clinic snagged the honor.)

U.S. News ranks hospitals in 17 specialties. How do they do it?

Put simply, the rankings are based on a mixture of subjective opinion and hard data analysis. Rankings in five specialties—ophthalmology, pediatrics, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology—are based solely on reputation. Randomly selected, board-certified physicians list the five hospitals they believe are best in their specialty for difficult cases, without considering cost or location. Last year, nearly half the 3,400 doctors surveyed responded.

Rankings in the 12 other specialties are based on medical data—the number of specified procedures hospitals perform on Medicare patients, for example, or the number of specified technology-related services (such as positron emission tomography) hospitals make available. Last year, out of all 6,000 U.S. medical centers, just 176 scored high enough to rank in even a single specialty.

One secret to Johns Hopkins’ success is the sheer breadth of its specialties. Mayo Clinic, for one, does not have a department of pediatrics.

This year’s results will be announced on Friday, July 7.

My Son the Doctor

“This may be the best news my mother ever heard. It confirms my belief that anything is possible,” said Mike Bloomberg, beaming over the honorary medical degree he received at the School of Medicine commencement on May 25. In his address, he railed against current policies on global warming, the teaching of intelligent design and limitations on stem cell lines. “Each of you has the ability to defend the integrity and power of science,” he admonished graduates.

The next day, The New York Times wrote that the New York mayor sounded a lot like a candidate for the White House.



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