Northwestern No. 1 in Illinois and Chicago in U.S. News’ 2012 ‘Best Hospitals’ Ranking


In the 2012 ranking of the nation’s “Best Hospitals” published by U.S. News & World Report, both Northwestern Memorial and Northwestern Lake Forest hospitals earned recognition in Illinois and the Chicago metro area, with Northwestern Memorial ranked No. 1 in both areas and named to the prestigious honor roll of the nation’s top hospitals. Northwestern Memorial is 12th among 18 hospitals to make U.S. News’ 2012 Honor Roll. The Honor Roll is a prestigious recognition given only to a handful of hospitals in the country each year. 

This year, editorial staff for the authoritative and influential guide evaluated nearly 5,000 medical centers nationwide. Hospitals were chosen and ranked according to the Top 50 programs in 16 clinical areas. The 16 specialties include cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, ear, nose and throat, gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, kidney disorders, neurology and neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, psychiatry, pulmonology, rehabilitation, rheumatology and urology. 

Northwestern Memorial is rated in the following 12 specialties: cancer (27), cardiology and heart surgery (17), diabetes and endocrinology (12), ear, nose and throat (17), gastroenterology (17), geriatrics (18), gynecology (19), nephrology (21), neurology and neurosurgery (11), orthopaedics (16), pulmonology (17), and urology (18).  Northwestern Memorial is also high-performing in rheumatology.

Northwestern Lake Forest ranked No. 20 in Illinois, No. 18 in Chicago metro, and was noted as high-performing in the categories of gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery and orthopaedics.

The rankings were driven by data such as death rates, procedure volume, and balance of nurses and patients. In the four remaining specialties – ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology – hospitals were ranked on reputation alone.

To be considered in the ranked specialties, a hospital first had to meet at least one of four criteria: It had to be a teaching hospital, or be affiliated with a medical school, or have at least 200 beds, or have 100 or more beds and the availability of four or more types of important medical technology. 

Next, hospitals had to meet a volume requirement, individually calculated for each specialty. The required volume was the number of Medicare inpatients from 2006 to 2008 who had various specified procedures and conditions in the specialty. A hospital that fell short could still qualify if it had been nominated by at least one physician in any of the U.S. News Best Hospitals reputational surveys conducted in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

In addition, our affiliate partners received their positive rankings news as well; the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) has once again been named the No. 1 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation hospital in the country. The global leader in rehabilitation, RIC has been ranked No. 1 longer than any other specialty hospital in the nation. Also, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago ranks No. 9 among only 12 children’s hospitals nationwide to qualify for the Honor Roll. Children’s hospitals that made the Honor Roll were awarded this distinction because they scored high in at least three specialties — Lurie Children’s has five specialties in the top 10, including urology (6), kidney diseases (7), gastroenterology (8), cancer (9) and orthopaedics (10).

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