July 14, 2000

Survey places VUMC specialties among best in nation

Featured Image

Survey places VUMC specialties among best in nation

Several programs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are ranked among the nation's elite, according to a newly released survey by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

The 11th annual assessment of health care facilities, called "America's Best Hospitals," ranks institutions by 17 different specialties.

Vanderbilt University Hospital and The Vanderbilt Clinic are ranked in 11 of the 17 specialty areas surveyed, including cancer, 27th; digestive disorders, 35th; ear-nose-throat, 11th; gynecology, 20th; heart, 23rd; hormonal disorders, 12th; kidney disease, 9th; neurology and neurosurgery, 32nd; orthopaedics, 19th; respiratory disorders, 15th; and urology, 18th. This is the first year that kidney disease has been ranked as a specialty.

The annual ranking of health care facilities is designed to serve as a guide for consumers looking for the best in medical care. This year's complete guide is published in the newsmagazine's July 17 issue — available on newsstands July 10 — and can also be accessed on-line at www.usnews.com.

"We are very pleased that, once again, VUMC is ranked among the best in the country and that the number of specialty areas in which we're recognized continues to grow," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs. "While this is only one indicator of quality when comparing providers of health care services, national recognition such as this is important in reaching our goal of being regarded as one of the country's premiere academic medical institutions."

The U.S. News rankings use a statistical method developed by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), a noted social science research group at the University of Chicago, to rank the quality of the nation's hospitals each year.

To be eligible for ranking in any of the 17 specialties, a hospital had to meet at least one of three requirements — affiliation with a medical school, membership in the Council of Teaching Hospitals or a minimum of nine out of 17 key technologies readily available.

The 17 specialties ranked by U.S. News are cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; hormonal disorders; digestive tract; geriatrics; gynecology; kidney disease; neurology and neurosurgery; eye care; orthopaedics; ear, nose and throat; pediatrics; psychiatry; respiratory disorders; rehabilitation; rheumatology; and urology.

In 13 of the specialties, the newsmagazine ranked the top 50 centers in the nation based on a mathematical model that combines reputation score with statistics and information related to quality, such as the ratio of registered nurses to beds and mortality rate. The reputation score is obtained in a rolling three-year survey of physicians board-certified in the relevant specialty. Each year 150 physicians per specialty are selected at random and asked to name the five hospitals they consider to be the best in their specialty, without consideration of cost or location.

In four of the specialties — pediatrics, eye care, psychiatry and rehabilitation — rankings were compiled based on reputation alone. To be ranked, a center must be cited in the reputation survey by at least 3 percent of the specialists who responded over a three-year period.