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The top hospitals across 17 specialties, according to Healthgrades


Healthgrades on Tuesday released its 2023 analysis of the top hospitals in the United States, which evaluated the performance of almost 4,500 hospitals and assessed clinical outcomes for 33 procedures and conditions across 17 specialty areas.

Cheat sheets: Learn how top hospital quality ratings programs like Healthgrades work

2023 Specialty State Ranking and Excellence Awards

For the 2023 Specialty Excellence Awards, Healthgrades evaluated U.S. hospitals' performances and assessed the clinical outcomes of 33 procedures and conditions across 17 specialty areas, including:

  • Bariatric surgery
  • Cardiac care
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Coronary intervention
  • Cranial neurosurgery
  • Critical care
  • Gastrointestinal care
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • Joint replacement
  • Neurosciences
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Prostate surgery
  • Pulmonary care
  • Spine surgery
  • Stroke care
  • Surgical care
  • Vascular surgery

Healthgrades evaluated each hospital's performance for clinical outcomes across each of the 33 procedures and conditions considered. Hospitals were then awarded between one and five stars to signify their performance. According to Healthgrades, hospitals that received:

  • One star performed "worse than expected," meaning their "[a]ctual performance was worse than predicted and the difference was statistically significant."
  • Three stars performed "as expected," meaning their "[a]ctual performance was not statistically different from what was predicted."
  • Five stars performed "better than expected," meaning their "[a]ctual performance was better than predicted and the difference was statistically significant."

According to Healthgrades, the ratings and analysis did not evaluate hospital reputation, financial information, perception, or predicted performance—and excluded Covid-19 patients from consideration. Hospitals were not allowed to opt in or out of the analysis.

To access the list of Specialty Excellence Award recipients and see whether your hospital was among them, click here.

In addition, Healthgrades recognized hospitals with superior patient outcomes across eight specialty state rankings. Each recipient was recognized for being in the top three or top five in their respective state.

To access a full list of state ranking recipients and methodology, click here

Key insights

"We commend the recognized hospitals for their ongoing commitment to high-quality specialty care," said Brad Bowman, Healthgrades' CMO and head of data science. "Healthgrades 2023 Specialty Excellence Awards and Ratings showcase hospitals around the country that deliver consistently exceptional patient outcomes in a given medical specialty."

Along with the 2023 Specialty Excellence Awards and Ratings, Healthgrades published the 2023 Specialty Excellence Report for Hospitals. This year, the special report offers key insights into some of the challenges hospitals face and details how Healthgrades' data can help drive efforts to deliver outstanding outcomes in 2023.

To help individuals find providers that deliver outstanding specialty care, Healthgrades released a consumer-friendly overview of their awards methodology.

"By offering easy access to objective measures of performance, Healthgrades gives consumers the information they need to find a hospital with a five-star rating in the specialty area they need," Healthgrades said in a press release. "And as the gap between one-star and five-star performers continues to widen, the ability to evaluate hospital quality has never been more important."

For example, from 2019 to 2021, patients treated in hospitals that received a five-star review had:

  • A 50.1% lower risk of dying while in the hospital after a heart attack, when compared with one-star hospitals
  • An 89.5% lower risk of dying while in the hospital for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, when compared with one-star hospitals
  • A 77.3% lower risk of experiencing a complication during a total knee replacement, when compared with one-star hospitals
  • An 80% lower risk of experiencing a complication during back and neck surgeries—except spinal fusion—when compared with one-star hospitals

"While most consumers do their research before choosing a doctor, very few consider the quality of the hospital where they will be treated. When it comes to specialty care, it's crucial not only to find the right doctor, but to ensure the doctor practices at a hospital that excels in the condition or procedure for which you require treatment," said Burt Kann, EVP and head of product at Healthgrades. "This year's Specialty Excellence Awards and Ratings empower consumers to make informed choices about where to find best-in-class specialty care." (Healthgrades Specialty State Ranking and Excellence Awards, accessed 10/26; Healthgrades Specialty Excellence Awards methodology; accessed 10/26; Healthgrades press release, 10/25; Bean, Becker's Hospital Review, 10/25)


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