RTI International‡ collects and analyzes the data for the “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings. The methodology reflects the level and quality of hospital resources directly related to patient care, such as staffing, technology and special services; delivery of healthcare, such as reputation among pediatric specialists, programs that prevent infections and adherence to best practices; and clinical outcomes, such as patient survival, infection rates and complications.
Pediatrics has been an element of Best Hospitals ever since 1990, when U.S. News & World Report published the first annual version of the “American’s Best Hospitals” rankings, as they were then called. The initial evaluations in 12 specialties took the form of short lists of centers identified through a survey of physician specialists as providing the best care for the most challenging patients.
Lacking robust pediatric data bases, U.S. News elected to collect data directly from children’s hospitals through a comprehensive clinical and operational survey. The first rankings to incorporate data from such a survey, developed by RTI International*, were published in 2007 as the top 30 children’s centers in General Pediatrics. Specialty rankings were not included.
In the 2016-17 rankings, 78 of the 183 surveyed hospitals were ranked in one or more specialties. The Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll recognizes hospitals with scores in the top 10percent in at least three specialties. The 2016-17 Honor Roll lists 11 such hospitals.