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US News Names Top 10 Children's Hospitals

By John Commins  
   June 27, 2017

The widely read list ranks hospitals on how they performed in three key areas: clinical outcomes, care coordination, and providing care-related resources.

U.S. News on Tuesday unveiled its 11th annual list of the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals, and it bears a striking resemblance to the magazine’s 10th annual list.

The top four hospitals in 2016-17 held their rankings in 2017-18, led by Boston Children’s Hospital, which is a perennial list topper. Only one hospital on the 2017-18 list, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore at No. 5, was not on the Top 10 list the previous year.

Here’s 2017-18’s Top 10 list:

1. Boston Children's Hospital (244 points)

2. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (234 points)

3. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (209 points)

4. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston (202 points)

5. Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Baltimore (165 points)

6. Children's Hospital Los Angeles (157 points)

7. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (144 points)

7. Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio (144 points)

9. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC (141 points)

10. Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. (138 points)

In addition, U.S. News ranked the top 50 pediatric medical centers in 10 specialties, including pediatric cardiology & heart surgery, pediatric diabetes & endocrinology, and pediatric orthopedics.

In the 2017-18 rankings, 82 hospitals ranked among the top 50 in at least one specialty. Ten of those hospitals earned a place on the Best Children's Hospitals 2017-18 Honor Roll by racking up points for being highly ranked in many specialties.

U.S. News said the 2017-18 rankings were created from data collected through a clinical survey sent to nearly 200 hospitals and a reputational survey sent to about 11,000 doctors who are pediatric specialists. RTI International, a North Carolina-based research and consulting firm that also generates the Best Hospitals rankings, administered both surveys and analyzed the results.

Data collected and analyzed included survival rates for children who underwent surgery for serious congenital heart defects, infection rates in neonatal intensive care units, complications from kidney biopsies and other care outcomes. Data about the adequacy of each hospital's nurse staffing and infection-prevention programs were among many other factors also considered, U.S. News said.

Rankings also depended on how well a hospital performed in three broad respects: clinical outcomes, such as maximizing cancer survival and minimizing rates of various infections; efficient coordination of care as demonstrated, for example, by complying with accepted "best practices"; and providing sufficient care-related resources such as nursing staff and outpatient programs tailored to particular conditions. Each of these three major areas determined up to one-third of a hospital's score, U.S. News said.

The rankings also considered responses to a survey of more than 3,000 pediatric specialists, who were asked to name up to 10 hospitals they consider best in their specialty for children with serious or difficult medical problems, U.S. News said. 

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.

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