U.S. News Releases 2011-12 Rankings of Best Children’s Hospitals

U.S. News Media Group has posted the 2011-12 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings online at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals.

The new rankings recognize the top 50 children’s hospitals in 10 specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Seventy-six hospitals are ranked in at least one specialty. The Honor Roll lists 11 hospitals that ranked at or near the top in four or more specialties. The rankings will also be published in the U.S. News Best Hospitals print guide that will go on sale in August.

According to the U.S. News rankings, the top 10 children’s hospitals for pulmonology are: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Boston, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Texas Children’s Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital – Washington University, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (Cleveland), Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and North Carolina Children’s Hospital at UNC.

Best Children’s Hospitals, now in its fifth year, is an invaluable resource for parents and families of sick children, highlighting survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure volume, and many more types of critical information hard or impossible to find any other way. The analysis includes the opinions of pediatric specialists across the country who were asked by U.S. News to name the hospitals where they would send their most challenging patients.

“It’s much harder for parents and others caring for a child to dig out important facts about pediatric quality of care than it is to find similar information about hospitals’ quality of care for adults, and that’s just out of whack,” says Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “Children with serious medical issues need nothing less than the best care available. Best Children’s Hospitals calls attention to pediatric centers that have the expertise to help kids whose medical problems are uniquely difficult. We want them to be where they can get the best care.”

U.S. News surveyed nearly 180 children’s hospitals to obtain the data that made up 75 percent of the rankings; a separate reputational survey of 1,500 pediatric specialists made up the remaining 25 percent. The 25 percent weight given to reputation is down from 35 percent in last year’s rankings. That’s because children’s hospitals have gotten better at collecting and tracking data on their performance, a trend given a boost by the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, in the view of many experts. More data that directly reflect how well hospitals do at treating children and minimizing the risks they face just from being hospitalized—figures on survival, complications, and infection prevention, for example—are now available for analysis.

Most candidates for Best Children’s Hospitals were members of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and were a freestanding children’s hospital, a “hospital within a hospital”—a collection of large, multidisciplinary pediatric departments within a medical center—or were affiliated with a medical school. Several non-NACHRI members were added because of specific expertise or at experts’ recommendation.

The Honor Roll

The Honor Roll recognizes the 11 hospitals that excelled in four or more specialties.

1. Children’s Hospital Boston

1. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

3. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

4. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

5. Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver

5. Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore

7. Seattle Children’s Hospital

8. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

8. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

8. New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley-Komansky Children’s Hospital, N.Y.

8. St. Louis Children’s Hospital-Washington University

RTI International, the research organization that also oversees the Best Hospitals rankings, created the 2011-12 Best Children’s Hospitals methodology with the help of more than 100 physicians including medical directors, pediatric specialists, and other experts and administered the hospital and physician surveys. A detailed description can be found at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals.

Source: U.S. News Media Group press release