Health Industry

How the Newsweek Hospital Rankings Are Made

US hospitals dominate the rankings with five making the top 10

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was recently voted the World’s Best Hospital 2022 by Newsweek magazine. The US-based publication teamed up with data research company Statista Inc to find the top hospitals around the globe based on a series of scores by clinicians and patients.

Second and third top hospitals on the Newsweek list – the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Massachusetts General in Boston, New England – are also in the United States, while fourth on the list is Toronto General University Health Network in Canada.

Another US hospital made sixth place, while hospitals from Germany, France, Sweden, and Israel comprised the remainder of the top ten rankings.

Notably, no British hospital made the top 40. The highest-ranked hospital in the global rankings from the United Kingdom was St Thomas’ Hospital in 41st place.

This is the third year the magazine has printed its list of Best Hospital Rankings. With each year, the list of participants continues to grow. In 2022, three new countries were added to the list, namely Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Colombia, bringing the total number of participants to 2,200 hospitals across 27 countries.

Publishing the results, Nancy Cooper, Newsweek’s Global Editor-in-Chief said: “As the events of 2020 made clear, our lives and those of our loved ones may depend on the quality of health care we can access.”

She went on to say that all of the medical establishments stood out for their “consistent excellence, including distinguished physicians, top-notch nursing care, and state-of-the-art technology.”

Methodology used by Newsweek to rank hospitals 

The hospitals considered for the survey were based in selected countries with a similar standard of living and life expectancy. Other factors considered were the size of the population, how many hospitals there were in the country, and whether or not there was sufficient data available for assessment.

The grades for each hospital were given by amassing the scores from three separate areas:

  1. Recommendations from medical staff, such as doctors, health care professionals and hospital management (55%)
  2. Recommendations of patients who had been treated by the hospital staff (15%)
  3. Whether the hospitals met certain medical key performance indicators (30%)

Those compiling the survey compared hospitals within each country rather than globally. In addition, only large general medical establishments were taken into account. Specialist hospitals such as cancer or heart hospitals were omitted from the results.

In addition, the Newsweek ranking authors say that it is not possible to harmonize cross country data since different approaches to assessment are used for assessing patient experience and medical KPIs in each country.

Scores are only comparable between hospitals in the same country.

Newsweek

However, Newsweek does publish a ranking of the world’s best hospitals. This list of 250 hospitals is ranked by “the number of international recommendations received in the survey and their national rank.” It is important to distinguish that the first 150 hospitals are rated using this method, and hospitals 151-250 are sorted alphabetically. 

Advantages

The best hospital rankings give prospective patients in each country an idea of the standard of hospitals where they live and whether it would be more beneficial to go abroad for treatment.

The rankings also allow participating hospitals to benchmark themselves against their peers, which drives a culture of continuous improvement in healthcare standards.

Criticisms

There is very little patient input. Just 15 per cent of the overall grading was based on how patients felt they were treated by staff at the hospital. Admittedly the survey’s compilers do seem to acknowledge this lack themselves, insisting that next year’s survey will take Patient Reported Outcome Measurements (PROMs) into account to generate a higher proportion of a hospital’s overall ranking.

Up to 55 per cent of the hospital’s grading is based on the testimonies of staff working there and other medical experts. This might be appropriate if the intention of the survey was to advise medical experts on the best places to work. However, the ranking is presented as a guide to hospital quality for patients who might seek treatment abroad.

Rankings influence business

The higher the hospital’s ranking, the more attractive it will be to a prospective patient. After all, wealthy patients are willing to pay for the best treatment. Consequently, whether you think the Newsweek rankings are fair or not, there is no getting away from the fact that they do matter.

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