Northwestern, Rush top U.S. News’ list of best Illinois hospitals

Northwestern, Rush top U.S. News’ list of best Illinois hospitals

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The Streeterville and Near West Wide academic medical centers also rank first and second, respectively, on the list of best Illinois hospitals. Rounding out the top 5 in the state are University of Chicago Medical Center at No. 3, followed by Advocate Christ Medical Center at No. 4 and Loyola University Medical Center at No. 5.

The data used this year was collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The methodology, which is revised each year, focuses on objective measures like risk-adjusted survival rates, patient volumes and other quality metrics. Among updates this year are ratings for seven new procedures and conditions, including heart attack, stroke and pneumonia. (There are now a total of 17 procedures and conditions studies, in addition to the rankings for 15 medical specialties.)

U.S. News has been working to broaden the range of procedures and conditions it studies for several years, but the expansion was prioritized this year—partly to “give patients and families guidance on pneumonia” during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis and managing editor at U.S. News, in a statement.

Though this year’s ranking doesn’t include data collected during the pandemic, Northwestern Memorial in a statement highlights the work it has done to support patients during the global health crisis, like offering new treatments for those with severe COVID-19 cases. The hospital, which ranks 14th in the nation for pulmonology and lung surgery, performed the first COVID-19 double-lung transplant in the U.S. 

Rush University Medical Center made its Honor Roll list debut in 2020, largely due to a methodology update that ensures facilities aren’t penalized for treating more complex patients, the hospital told Crain’s last year.

“Not only has our unrivaled staff surmounted the challenges of the last year and a half to save more lives, but we have also positioned our hospital to be a leader in the city and the nation before, during and now post-COVID,” Rush CEO Dr. Omar Lateef said in a statement. 

Despite methodology changes this year, the rankings aren’t dramatically different from previous years.

“It suggests that the things we’ve added this year to our measurement model don’t really change the fundamental truths about which hospitals excel across the board,” Harder said. “It’s reassuring.” 

Meanwhile, 2021 marks the 31st consecutive year that Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago—previously known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago—has ranked No. 1 for rehabilitation. The rehabilitation hospital is among facilities that have launched units during the pandemic to better treat the long-term health conditions associated with COVID-19.  

U.S. News this year also started tracking health equity among hospitals by looking at where people of color got preventive and elective care. Such measures don’t yet factor into hospital rankings and additional measures are under development.

And, with hospital data from 2020 available soon, next year’s ranking could look very different. 

“Things we may see happening in 2020 (data) may not be predictive of future performance in the same way that performance in 2019 and other past years has been,” Harder said. “It’s going to be a big challenge for my team and me to figure out how to use (the data) and what to use from that dataset.”

More than 4,700 medical centers nationwide across 15 medical specialties and 17 procedures and conditions were evaluated by U.S. News. Children’s hospitals were not included.

The top 5 hospitals on the U.S. News Honor Roll are Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, UCLA Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

See the full list here.

Here are the top Illinois hospitals, some of which are tied:

1. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago

2. Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

3. University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago

4. Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn

5. Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood

6. NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston

7. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge

8. Edward Hospital, Naperville

9. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove

10. Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana

10. Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield 

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