Healthgrades ranks top hospitals in specialty care

More than 4,500 hospitals were analyzed across 17 different specialty areas. The group says it hopes consumers use the rankings to make informed choices.

The top performing hospitals in specialty care are opening up the gap separating them from their competitors, according to a recent analysis from Healthgrades.

Healthgrades, which offers a variety of rankings of hospitals and health systems, has named the recipients of the 2023 Specialty Excellence Awards and Five-Star Specialty Care Ratings. The awards were announced Tuesday.

The organization evaluated nearly 4,500 hospitals across 17 different specialty areas. Hospitals were analyzed for their performance in 33 procedures and conditions.

Healthgrades offered three sets of awards for standouts in specialty care: America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Specialty Care, America’s 100 best hospitals for Specialty Care, and the Healthgrades Specialty Excellence Award, given to the top 5% or 10% in specialty care areas. (Find the full list of specialty award recipients here.)

The top 15% of hospitals received five-star ratings from Healthgrades.

“We commend the recognized hospitals for their ongoing commitment to high-quality specialty care,” Brad Bowman, chief medical officer and head of data science at Healthgrades, said in a statement.

Healthgrades reported that patients treated at a five-star rated hospital were less likely to die and had a better chance of avoiding more serious complications than those at one-star facilities.

In a companion report on specialty care, Healthgrades projects that if all the hospitals performed at the level of five-star facilities, 201,586 lives would have been saved and 160,498 patients would have avoided complications.

  • Nationally, patients who received coronary intervention at five-star hospitals were 68% less likely to die than those at one-star providers, according to Healthgrades.
  • Patients who were treated for a heart attack at a five-star hospital had a 50.1% lower risk of dying than patients at a one-star facility, Healthgrades said.
  • Patients treated for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in a five-star hospital were 89% less likely to die than those in a facility which received one star.
  • Patients treated for stroke at hospitals with a five-star rating for stroke care have a 52% lower risk of dying than if they were treated at hospitals with a one-star ranking.
  • Those who underwent back and neck surgery (without spinal fusion) at five-star hospitals had an 80% lower risk of complications than patients at one-star hospitals.
  • Patients who had knee replacements at five-star facilities were 77% less likely to have complications than those at one-star hospitals.
  • Read more: Healthgrades ranks the top hospitals for patient experience in 2022

Burt Kann, executive vice president and head of product at Healthgrades, said he hopes the rankings and analysis help patients make more informed choices.

“While most consumers do their research before choosing a doctor, very few consider the quality of the hospital where they will be treated,” Kann said in a statement. “When it comes to specialty care, it’s crucial not only to find the right doctor, but to ensure the doctor practices at a hospital that excels in the condition or procedure for which you require treatment.”

Nearly two-thirds of consumers (64%) are showing more concern about their health in the pandemic, according to a patient survey by Healthgrades. A majority of patients (57%) said they were more concerned about the quality of care provided by doctors and hospitals than before the pandemic.

Patient safety has emerged as a growing concern in the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal officials have said they are troubled by the declines in measures of patient safety in hospitals during the pandemic.

Healthgrades examined data for patients covering the years 2019 through 2021, and said the analysis represents three-year estimates for Medicare patients.