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Top 12 Children's Hospitals in the U.S.: Survey

Annual Survey Ranks Best Hospitals Overall and by Specialty

By Matt McMillen
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

June 5, 2012 -- U.S. News & World Report is out with its annual list of the best children's hospitals in the nation, both overall and by specialty.

First up for its 2012-2013 rankings is what the magazine deems its "Honor Roll" -- those hospitals that excel in the specialized treatment of three or more serious, often life-threatening illnesses or conditions such as cancer, heart problems, kidney problems, and others. Here are the 12 hospitals in the U.S. that do the best job.

1. Boston Children's Hospital

2. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

3. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

4. Texas Children's Hospital (Houston)

5. Children's Hospital Los Angeles

6. Seattle Children's Hospital

7. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

8. Children's Hospital Colorado (Aurora)

9. Nationwide Children's Hospital (Columbus, Ohio)

10. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC (tie)

10. John's Hopkins Children's Center (Baltimore, Md.) (tie)

10. St. Louis Children's Hospital -- Washington University (tie)

Ranking by Specialty

The survey also ranks hospitals by their ability to treat particular illnesses or conditions. Here are the top three hospitals for each of the specialties covered, as well as the criteria for inclusion.

Cancer

Based on factors such as five-year survival rates, transplant accreditation, and overall infection prevention, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric cancer specialists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Dana-Farber Cancer Center / Boston Children's Hospital
  3. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Cardiology and Heart Surgery

Based on factors such as clinical research, surgical survival, and the ability to prevent bloodstream infections, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric cardiologists and heart surgeons collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Boston Children's Hospital
  2. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  3. Texas Children's Hospital

Diabetes and Endocrinology

Based on factors such as diabetes management, infection prevention, and range of diabetes treatment options, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric diabetes specialists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Boston Children's Hospital
  3. Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital

Gastroenterology

Based on factors such as liver transplant volume and survival, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric liver specialists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Boston Children's Hospital
  3. Texas Children's Hospital

Neonatology

Based on such factors as nurse staffing in neonatal intensive care units, ability to prevent bloodstream infections, and patient volume, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric neonatologists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  2. Texas Children's Hospital
  3. Boston Children's Hospital

Nephrology

Based on factors such as kidney transplant survival, biopsy complications, and overall infection prevention, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric nephrologists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Boston Children's Hospital
  2. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  3. Seattle Children's Hospital

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Based on factors such as surgical survival, parent and family involvement, and clinical research, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Boston Children's Hospital
  2. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  3. Children's Hospital Cleveland Clinic

Orthopedics

Based on factors such as clinical research, prevention of surgical complications, and infection prevention, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric orthopedists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Rady Children's Hospital (San Diego, Calif.)
  3. Boston Children's Hospital

Pulmonology

Based on factors such as management of asthma, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric pulmonologists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  3. Texas Children's Hospital

Urology

Based on such factors as patient volume, nurse staffing, and bloodstream infections from urinary catheters, as well as the opinions of 450 pediatric urologists collected in 2010-2012.

  1. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Boston Children's Hospital
  3. Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health (Indianapolis)

How the Decisions Were Made

Overall, 178 hospitals around the country were surveyed to determine which provide the best care for a variety of medical conditions.

According to U.S. News & World Report, "Out of all roughly 5,000 U.S. hospitals, only about 1 in 30 has rock-solid expertise in caring for children with serious problems."

Each hospital completed a 95-page survey that tallied clinical outcomes such as patient survival, infections, and complications. It also measured each hospital's resources and reputation, analyzing a hospital's staffing, technology, and adherence to best practices.

Other resources, such as the National Cancer Institute, also provided data. Finally, 150 pediatric specialists in each specialty were polled. Each was asked to name the five hospitals to which they would send the sickest children.

The survey was developed by Durham, North Carolina-based research firm RTI International, which also collected and analyzed the data.

SOURCE: US News & World Report: "U.S. News Best Children's Hospitals 2012-13."

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