October 23, 2020

The top hospitals for 16 specialties, according to Healthgrades

Daily Briefing

    Healthgrades on Tuesday released its 2021 analysis of the top hospitals in the United States, which evaluated the performance of almost 4,500 hospitals and assessed clinical outcomes for 34 procedures and conditions across 16 specialty areas.

    2020 Specialty Excellence Award

    For the analysis, called the 2021 Specialty Excellence Award, Healthgrades evaluated U.S. hospitals' performance and assessed the clinical outcomes of 34 procedures and conditions across 16 specialty areas:

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

    Based on that evaluation, Healthgrades awarded each hospital between one and five stars to signify their performance when it comes to clinical outcomes across each of the 34 procedures and conditions considered for the analysis. According to Healthgrades, hospitals that received:

    • One star performed "worse than expected," meaning their "actual performance was worse than predicted and the difference was statistically significant;"

    • Three stars performed "as expected," meaning their "actual performance was not statistically different from what was predicted;" and

    • Five stars performed "better than expected," meaning their "actual performance was better than predicted and the difference was statistically significant."

    Healthgrades then used those determinations to compile separate lists recognizing hospitals that performed in the top 10% for each of the 16 specialty areas.

    In addition, Healthgrades recognized hospitals that ranked among the top 100 in the United States for performance in specialty care, as well as those that ranked among the top 50 in the United States for performance in cardiac surgery and vascular surgery. Healthgrades noted those distinguished hospitals by placing a star next to their names on each of its 16 lists naming the top-performing hospitals in each of the 16 specialty areas.

    To access those lists and see whether your hospital was among one of the top 100 in specialty care and/or one of the top 50 in cardiac and vascular surgery, click here.

    Report to the nation

    Healthgrades on Tuesday also released a report assessing hospital quality nationwide. According to Healthgrades, the report is intended to provide "in-depth review and data analysis—with an additional focus on common elective surgeries—to show how consumers can use quality ratings as a resource for making informed health care decisions." Specifically, the report "looks at risk factors associated with outcomes in elective care, as well as the relative performance of five-star hospitals vs one- and three-star hospitals and what that means for patients," Healthgrades said.

    Overall, Healthgrades noted that "clinical outcomes continue to differ dramatically between hospitals in the top and bottom of [the organization's] hospital performance categories." For instance, Healthgrades noted that patients who receive care at hospitals with five-star ratings for a particular procedure or condition on average have "a lower risk of a complication or mortality than if" they received care at a hospital that received a one-star rating for that particular procedure or condition.

    Further, Healthgrades determined that if all hospitals performed similarly to hospitals that received five stars, "218,785 lives could potentially have been saved and complications in 148,681 patients could potentially have been avoided," the organization said (Healthgrades release, 10/20; Healthgrades Specialty Excellence Awards and America's Best Care 2021 list, accessed 10/22; Healthgrades Mortality and Complications Outcomes 2021 Methodology, accessed 10/22; Healthgrades 2021 Report to the Nation: A Safe Return to Quality Care, accessed 10/22).

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