July 15, 2010

VUMC Medical Specialties Lauded by U.S. News & World Report

Vanderbilt University Medical Center finished strongly again this year in U.S. News & World Report magazine’s annual ranking of America’s Best Hospitals.

VUMC posted an all-time high of 10 out of a possible 16 medical specialties ranked by the magazine.

“I'm very pleased to see us expand the number of clinical service areas receiving national recognition by U.S. News,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “This expanding visibility across so many of our specialties is consistent with our growing profile as a national leader in health care.”

In the report released Thursday, the following VUMC specialty programs ranked among the top 50 in their respective fields: Urology (9), Kidney Disorders (10), Diabetes & Endocrinology (13), Ear, Nose & Throat (14), Pulmonology (17), Cancer (18), Heart & Heart Surgery (24), Gastroenterology (25), Geriatrics (48), and Gynecology (50).

Programs in Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology, Pulmonology, and Urology all improved in this year’s rankings.

And for the first time this year, VUMC ranked in the specialty category of Geriatrics.

“These rankings show the breadth of the strength of our specialty services,” said C. Wright Pinson, M.D., MBA, deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs. “We can all be proud of our associates who are being recognized for their excellent academic reputation and superb clinical care.”

Of the 4,852 hospitals evaluated, only 152 ranked among the specialty categories.

To be eligible, hospitals must either be a teaching hospital, be affiliated with a medical school, have at least 200 beds, or have at least 100 beds plus certain medical technologies. This year, 45 percent of all U.S. hospitals met the criteria.

Hard data largely drives rankings in 12 of the 16 specialties. Each hospital received a score based on four basic elements: reputation, death rate, patient safety and care-related factors such as nursing and patient services.

In the four remaining specialties — Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Rehabilitation and Rheumatology — ranking is based solely on reputation, derived from the three most recent physician surveys.

“The mission of the annual U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking has not changed in 21 years: to guide patients who need an unusually high level of hospital care,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor. “Best Hospitals judges medical centers on their competence in complex, demanding situations, often with high-risk patients.”

RTI International, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., compiled all data and produced the rankings for U.S. News.

The “American’s Best Hospitals” 2010-11 edition is accessible online at www.usnews.com/besthospitals and is scheduled to hit newsstands July 27.

As was reported last month, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt was ranked among the top 30 in the nation in five pediatric specialties by U.S. News in the magazine's annual listing of America's Best Children's Hospitals.

Children's Hospital was ranked in Urology (6), Neonatology (11), Gastroenterology (18), Orthopaedics (26) and Heart & Heart Surgery (26).