The Best Hospitals specialty rankings assess hospital performance in 15 specialties or specialty areas, from Cancer to Urology. In 12 of these, whether and how high a hospital is ranked is determined by an extensive data-driven analysis combining performance measures in three primary dimensions of healthcare: structure, process, and outcomes. In the three other specialties, ranking relies solely on expert opinion.
The structural measures include hospital volume, nurse staffing and other resources that define the hospital environment. The data source for most structural measures is the American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Survey. Additional resources include the National Cancer Institute’s list of NIH-designated cancer centers and the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s roster of Nurse Magnet hospitals.
Process is represented primarily by two factors. One is a hospital’s ability to develop and sustain a system that delivers high-quality care, as determined by expert opinion surveys of board-certified physicians. The other, is an indicator of patient experience. The basis for this score is the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction surveys. A hospital's linear mean overall score from HCAHPS was used to calculate the patient experience score. For the 11 cancer specialty hospitals exempt from the CMS Inpatient Prospective Payment System, analogous data from the PPS-exempt Cancer Hospital (PCH) HCAHPS dataset were used. A third factor, transparency, was used in three specialties.
For the 2022-23 rankings, 164 of over 4,500 evaluated U.S. hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty.
Since 1990, the Best Hospitals Honor Roll has recognized a small group of hospitals with high rankings in multiple Best Hospitals specialties. It was extensively revised in 2016-17 to reduce the effect of the expert opinion measure and to unify the rankings and ratings by incorporating Best Hospitals Procedures and Conditions ratings. See Section V. Honor Roll for more details.