Did You Know? Texas Heart Institute at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Ranked in the Cardiology & Heart Surgery Specialty Since Rankings Began

It’s that time of year, when U.S. News and World Report releases its rankings for America’s Best Hospitals. U.S. News and World Report evaluates nearly 5,000 hospitals across the country and 15 specialty areas of care, including cardiology & heart surgery. The Best Hospitals rankings are broken down into two subcomponents: procedures and conditions ratings, and specialty rankings. The goal of the procedures and conditions ratings is to indicate how well a hospital uses routine procedures to treat patients who have common conditions. In contrast, the specialty rankings convey a hospital’s competency in performing challenging procedures to treat patients who have high-risk conditions. The ratings and rankings are intended to serve as a tool for patients and are particularly useful to those in need of highly specialized care. In essence, they provide a starting point for patients after receiving a diagnosis, to be used in consultation with medical professionals.

U.S. News and World Report America’s Best Hospitals rankings were initiated in 1990 but have been refined continually over time. Initially, hospitals were ranked primarily on the basis of nominations by physicians. However, an extensive revision in 2016 reduced the impact of the opinion score. Now, the ranking methodology is largely based on objective measures, such as risk-adjusted survival and discharge-to-home rates, among other care-related indicators. In addition, the procedures and conditions ratings were not introduced until 2015 (originally called “Best Hospitals for Common Care”) and were added to include patients with relatively low-acuity conditions and procedures. In 2016, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, colon cancer surgery, and lung cancer surgery were added. This year, seven more new procedures and conditions ratings have been added, including heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes, kidney failure, hip fracture, and back surgery (spinal fusion), resulting in a total of 17 services evaluated.

THI at Baylor St. Luke’s has been ranked as a top hospital in the cardiology & heart surgery specialty every year since the specialty rankings began in 1991. Dr. Cooley once said of this achievement, “We are pleased to be recognized as one of the nation’s best. Through our programs in research, education, and patient care, the skills and dedication of our physicians and support personnel . . . we are making great strides in the understanding, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.” This year, Texas Heart Institute at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center was ranked 13th in the cardiology & heart surgery specialty and received the highest possible ratings in the areas of heart failure, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, bypass surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, and heart attack. Undoubtedly, Dr. Cooley’s words continue to ring true today.

– by Nicole Stancel, Sr. Scientific Medical Editor/Writer, Scientific Publications

Image: Selection of announcements of THI’s ranking among U.S. News and World Report’s best cardiovascular centers as they appeared in THI’s Vision newsletter. The rankings have been released on an annual basis since 1991.