People love to look at rankings or Top 10 lists, from cars to colleges to health care. U.S. News & World Report, which has...

People love to look at rankings or Top 10 lists, from cars to colleges to health care.

U.S. News & World Report, which has carved out a reputation for compiling such rankings, has updated its Best Hospitals list by metro area, just four months after putting out its first such ratings. It coincides with the magazine’s national 2011-2012 Best Hospitals rankings.

The metro Atlanta hospital list is very similar to the previous one, with the order slightly changed and a couple of hospitals entering the rankings and a couple dropping out. Here are the new rankings (including three ties):

1. Emory University Hospital

2. Piedmont Hospital

3. Shepherd Center

3. Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital

5. Emory University Hospital Midtown

6. WellStar Kennestone Hospital

7. Northside Hospital

7. St. Joseph’s Hospital

9. Grady Memorial Hospital

9. WellStar Douglas Hospital

(Here’s a link to the rankings.)

The methodology of determining the metro hospital lists hasn’t changed since the first list four months ago. But the magazine used updated information on the hospitals to revise the rankings, and has now included 94 metro areas, up from 52, a spokeswoman for U.S. News said Tuesday.

Any hospital that’s nationally ranked in even one specialty is listed above others that are called ‘’high-performing’’ in multiple specialties but not nationally ranked in any, the magazine says of its methodology.

Hospitals in the top 25 percent, but not ranked nationally, are recognized as “high-performing’’ in that specialty.

Missing from the rankings is information about the costs of the hospitals’ procedures. There are also no data on infection rates, a key indicator of hospital quality.

The U.S. News rankings are partly based on physicians’ views of what hospital is best in a particular specialty. Another key factor is a hospital’s success at keeping patients alive. To measure this, analysts take the number of Medicare patients with certain conditions who die within 30 days of admission and compare it with the number who would generally be expected to die under those circumstances.

Another factor is a quality score measuring indicators such as technology and nurse staffing.

Children’s hospitals are not included in the metro rankings.

The list released earlier this year actually had 11 hospitals ranked (also because of a tie):

1. Emory University Hospital

2. Shepherd Center

3. Piedmont Hospital

4. Emory University Hospital Midtown

5. WellStar Kennestone Hospital

6. St. Joseph’s Hospital

7. Northside Hospital

8. WellStar Cobb Hospital

9. Eastside Medical Center

10. Grady Memorial Hospital

10. Southern Regional Medical Center


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Andy Miller

Andy Miller is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News

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