Emory Report

August 3, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 36

Emory Hospital places high in new U.S. News rankings

After a year's absence due to some missing data, Emory Hospital returned with a vengeance to U.S. News & World Report's rankings of the nation's top hospitals, including a Top 10 ranking among heart hospitals.

More than 2,000 hospitals were assessed. Emory placed seventh for heart this year, outranking Johns Hopkins, Stanford and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. The only hospitals ranked higher for heart than Emory were Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Duke, Texas Heart Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Emory has been among the Top 10 for heart since the magazine first began ranking hospitals in 1990-with the exception of last year when the hospital was removed from consideration because one American Hospital Association survey had not been filled out.

In addition to heart, Emory was 14th in ophthalmology, 14th in orthopaedics, 16th in neurology and neurosurgery, 22nd in urology, 23rd in geriatrics, 26th in gynecology, 30th in rheumatology, 33rd in gastroenterology, 33rd in otolaryngology, 37th in endocrinology and 40th in cancer. Ophthalmology, orthopaedics, neurology/neurosurgery and urology had been ranked before; this was the first appearance in the Top 40 for the other specialties.

Emory Hospitals CEO John Henry said, "These rankings, as well as recognition from other organizations, reinforce the very high caliber of our health care teams-teams which include physicians, nursing staff, therapists, technicians, educators and dietitians. While we're continually known for cardiology services, this survey helps us publicly acknowledge our strength in a host of other areas."

Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs, was also delighted but hardly surprised. In fact, Johns thinks many programs are better than they were ranked. For most of the 16 specialties ranked by the magazine, data used for the ranking include such things as mortality ratios, volume of procedures, number of nurses for each patient, available medical technology-and reputational surveys in which 150 randomly selected physicians are asked to name the five hospitals they consider the best in their respective specialty. But four specialties, including ophthalmology, use reputation as the sole criterion, and this is where the rankings may not reflect actual program quality.

"It takes a while for reputation to catch up with what's really happening at an institution," Johns said. "When that happens for Emory, we'll see our rankings shoot up accordingly in many of these specialties. It'll be great to watch it happen."

And while the magazine uses data that are hospital-based, Johns also recognized that Emory strengths, and especially the "Emory reputation" included in the study methodology, extend well beyond the hospital walls.

"I congratulate John Henry and all the physicians and staff at Emory University Hospital, which has once again brought recognition to the Emory name," Johns said. "I also want to congratulate [medical school Dean] Tom Lawley and [Emory Clinic CEO] Rein Saral for their ability to recruit and retain such strong people and to congratulate and thank all those involved in extending Emory's reputation for expertise in their fields, especially at Crawford Long, Emory Heart Center, Emory Eye Center, Wesley Woods Center and Winship Cancer Center."

--Jennifer Saltz and Sylvia Wrobel

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