National survey names Medical Center as one of the best U.S. hospitals

U.S. News & World Report has selected the University of Chicago Medical Center as one of the finest hospitals in the United States in its 2011-12 Best Hospitals survey.

The magazine ranked 12 Medical Center specialties among the top such programs in the country. Combined with nine top pediatric programs at Comer Children’s Hospital, ranked separately this year, the Medical Center has 21 ranked programs — more than any other Illinois institution.

Twelve adult programs—digestive disorders (No. 9), cancer (14), pulmonology (19), diabetes and endocrinology (23), kidney disease (28), neurology & neurosurgery (29), ear, nose and throat (30), urology (33), geriatrics (34), heart & heart surgery (35), gynecology (39), and orthopedics (43)—scored in the top 50.

The core mission of Best Hospitals is to help guide patients who need an especially high level of care because of a difficult surgery, a challenging condition or added risk because of other health problems or age.

“We are pleased that so many of our programs are ranked amongst the best in the country,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs.

“This is a testament to the Medical Center’s strengths across the spectrum of advanced medical care,” said Sharon O’Keefe, president of the Medical Center. The Medical Center has been one the nation’s leading hospitals and leading children’s hospitals for decades. It scores equally well in surveys of medical education and basic biological science research and teaching.”

In March 2011, the Pritzker School was ranked 12th in the country, and the graduate programs in the biological sciences were ranked 13th in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Graduate Schools” issue. No other Illinois program scored as well in medical education or biological sciences.

The rankings in 12 of the 16 adult specialties are based on a mathematical formula that takes into account the ratio between actual and expected mortality at a hospital; a group of factors such as available technology, patient/community services, procedure volume and nursing care; and the institution’s reputation based on a poll of 200 specialists in each field, averaged over three years. In the four remaining adult specialties—ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology—hospitals were ranked on reputation alone.

According to U.S. News, out of nearly 4,825 hospitals evaluated, only 140 performed well enough to rank in even one specialty.