Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic top 'Best Hospitals' list; U.S. News tweaks 'best hospitals' methodology

Mayo Clinic retained its position at the top of the U.S. News & World Report list of the best hospitals for the second year in a row.

The publication’s annual “Honor Roll” calls out the 20 hospitals that it determines provide “exceptional treatment across multiple areas of care.” Rounding out the top five were the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and UCSF Medical Center.

This year’s results also included 152 hospitals ranked across 16 specific specialties. Among these, the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and the Mayo Clinic took the top spots for orthopedics; the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic topped the list for cardiology and heart surgery; and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York ranked first and second for cancer treatment, respectively.

Changes to this year’s scoring methodology mainly sought to include a higher volume of objective data underlying the rankings. The publication upped the amount of Medicare data it uses to produce the rankings from the 3 years it used previously to 5 years of data this year, alongside increased emphasis on the volume of patients hospitals see.

Other changes focused on weighting patient populations for socioeconomic status and high-risk transfers.

The publication also produced a list of the 535 best hospitals in major regions, with rankings based upon performance in both complex and common care in each state and metro area.

For these ratings, U.S. News de-emphasized its previous use of specialty rankings in favor of “procedures and conditions” ratings which rely on more objective underlying data, such as patient safety and experience, nursing care quality, and survival and readmission rates.

These tweaks follow major changes to the publication’s previous methodology, implemented last year partially in response to criticisms of Medicare’s Star Ratings system.