University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ranked top Hospital for cancer treatment.

Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ranked top Hospital for cancer treatment

Author: Chris Jones

When you need to be hospitalized for a special procedure or surgery what source do you use to determine what surgeon or hospital you go to? Do you leave the decision up to your specialist, or like many of us do you get on the web, and start googling?  While the internet maybe a great source to fish through data and information in a short time frame, there are also other resources and options.


A couple of years ago I discovered, the US News Best Hospital guide. This guide puts a lot of work into researching and ranking the top hospitals specially focusing on those who need an unusual degree of skilled inpatient care, while other rankings focus on standard routine procedures this raking focuses on specifics specialties.


This month US News  published their rankings of the “US News Best Hospitals 2012-2013” rankings. It was for all intent and purpose a very thorough study to determine what makes the best list. Understanding that each Hospital may have their own different areas of specialties, this ranking was broken out be each individual specialty.  The US News team conducted a survey of nearly 10,000 specialists and sifted through 5,000 hospitals to create this ranking list.


The ranking in the arena of cancer nationally was bestowed upon the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is not only ranked top in cancer, but is ranked nationally in 4 adult specialties, and 1 pediatric specialty.


Understanding that there is guide out there that provides this detail information, and has conducted these results from an objective survey has given me great confidence in recommending this resource for individuals looking for something more concrete than word of mouth, and more focused then searching the internet.


Below are the specifics on the methodology US NEWS have been using for the last 23 years to create this study.


To be ranked a hospital has to go through various criteria, in this year’s research only 148 of the estimated 5,000 hospitals met the criteria. Out of the 148 that met the criteria only 17 made the top list.

To be eligible for ranking in any of the 12 data-dependent specialties, a hospital first has to satisfy at least one of four criteria: It has to be a teaching hospital, or be affiliated with a medical school, or have at least 200 beds, or have at least 100 beds and offer at least four of eight specific medical technologies, such as a PET/CT scanner and certain precise radiation therapies. This year a total of 2,227 hospitals, or 46 percent of the initial universe, made it through this first door. The hospitals next have to meet a volume requirement to be eligible in a particular specialty. The threshold is a certain number of Medicare inpatients who were discharged from 2008 to 2010 after having had certain procedures or specific conditions related to the specialty. The number differs for each specialty. For 2012-13 the minimum number of heart patients, for example, was set at 1,308, of whom at least 500 had to have had a surgical procedure; in orthopedics the required number was 303 total, 275 of them surgical. A hospital that fell short still could make it through the gate if nominated by at least 1 percent of the physicians in a specialty who responded to the 2010, 2011, and 2012 reputation surveys. That left 1,868 hospitals eligible to be ranked. Fewer than 1 in 12 of them performed well enough to be ranked in any specialty.

Survival score (32.5 percent). A hospital’s success at keeping patients alive was judged by comparing the number of Medicare inpatients with certain conditions who died within 30 days of admission in 2008, 2009, and 2010—the three latest years for which data are available—with the number expected to die given the severity of illness. Hospitals were scored from 1 to 10, with 10 indicating the highest survival rate relative to other hospitals and 1 the lowest rate. Software used by many researchers (3M Health Information Systems Medicare Severity Grouper) took each patient’s condition into account.

Patient safety score (5 percent). Harmful blunders occur at every hospital; this score reflects how hard a hospital works to prevent six of the most egregious types. Injuries during surgery and major bleeding afterwards are two examples of the six categories of medical mishaps that were factored in. A hospital among the top 25 percent in this regard earned a score of 3, those in the middle 50 percent scored a 2, and those in the lower quartile scored a 1.

Reputation (32.5 percent). Each year, 200 physicians per specialty are randomly selected and asked to list the hospitals they consider to be the best in their specialty for complex or difficult cases without considering location or expense. To reduce the possibility that year-to-year shifts in physician perspective will skew the rankings, U.S. News each year bases the reputational score on the combined results of three years of surveys. The figure published for each hospital is the average percentage of specialists in 2010, 2011, and 2012 who named the hospital. (In the four specialties where rank relies only on reputation, hospitals were ranked if they were cited by at least 5 percent of physicians who responded to the most recent three years of U.S. News surveys.)

Other care-related indicators (30 percent). These include nurse staffing, technology, and other measures that have been found to be related to quality of care. The main source was the American Hospital Association’s 2010 survey of all hospitals in the nation.

The rankings were produced for U.S. News by RTI International, a leading research organization based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Be sure to add your own fact-gathering to ours and to consult with your doctor or other medical professional; no hospital is best for every patient.


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