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"Best" Hospitals in the U.S.?

May 26th, 2006

Is it possible to be a world-class hospital without being an academic medical center? If so, give me some examples and tell me what they do better than anyone else. (one example that will never be on anyone's list, but is one my list is Nick Jacob's hospital, Windber)


Don't look at the USNews "Best Hospitals" list - those are all academic hospitals, or at least teaching hospitals. That's even part of the criteria - to be part of the Council of Teaching Hospitals. Beyond that, they use physician surveys to gauge "reputation" and looked at mortality rates.

One place to start may be the "Most Wired Hospitals" List. Criteria included how IT is utilized within the hospital's biz processes, customer service, safety/quality, workforce, and public health/safety. Interestingly enough, of the US News Best 16 Hospitals, 14 top hospitals are not on the Most Wired List:

US News Top Hospitals Not on the Top 100 Most Wired List
#1 Johns Hopkins
#2 Mayo
#3 Mass Genn
#4 Cleveland Clinic
#6 Barnes-Jewish Hospital / Wash U
#7 NY Pres
#9 University of Washington Medical Center
#10 University of California, SF
#11 University of Michigan
#12 Brigham and Women's Hospital
#14 University of Chicago Hospitals
#16 Stanford

In fact, the only hospitals to be on both lists are: #8 Duke University Medical Center and #15 Hospital of U Penn. Does that strike anyone else as kinda strange? You'd think that top hospitals would be IT-savvy. Nonetheless, I digress.

Moving on, we could also look at Solucient's "Top 100 Hospitals" whereby they look at 4 things: clinical excellence, operating efficiency, financial health, and responsiveness to the community. This one is by far the most "businessy" of the lists. And of course, patients (and physicians) really don't care about Solucient's list or the H&HN Most Wired list.

Well, let me ask the question I'm really trying to ask: this blog has been dedicated to helping hospitals become "world-class" organizations. if you don't happen to be an academic medical center, you really can't become a "destination" hospital that people would fly to. Given that, can you really ever have the reputation as a "Best Hospital." And thus, can you really ever be a world-class organization?

Of course, the answer is "yes." There are plenty of world-class organizations that aren't world-renown or known by most. So, what are some other ways to excel? How do non-academic hospitals knock the ball out of the park? Is there anything you do to set your hospital apart from all others that causes patients to drive past other hospitals to go to yours?


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