Duke University Hospital in Durham was ranked the best hospital in North Carolina and the 17th-best hospital in the United States in the U.S. News & World Report hospital rankings issued Tuesday.
Duke was the only hospital in the Southeast to make U.S. News’ top 20 list, but UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, which ranked third overall in North Carolina, scored highly in several medical areas of specialty. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was No. 2 in the state. All three are flagship hospitals associated with university medical schools and part of large networks that include regional hospitals, medical practices and diagnostic labs across multiple counties.
The U.S. News rankings are based on hospital performance in 16 areas of complex specialty care, including death rates and patient safety, as well as on nine procedures and conditions, such as heart bypass and hip replacement. The U.S. News ranking methodology is developed by RTI International, a nonprofit contract research organization based in Research Triangle Park.
This year U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 hospitals. While more than 1,200 were rated high performing in at least one procedure or condition, only 48 were high performing in all nine procedures and conditions. The data is largely based on Medicare patients, and U.S. News advised that ratings alone should not determine a patient’s choice of hospital without consulting a doctor.
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Duke University Hospital received high rankings in several areas, including:
▪ Ophthalmology (No. 6)
▪ Urology (No. 10)
▪ Heart surgery and cardiology (No. 11)
▪ Pulmonology (No. 12)
UNC Hospitals ranked highly in ear, nose and throat (No. 14), but also scored well in nephrology (No. 20) and cancer (No. 24).
Other hospitals in the Triangle performed well in a variety of areas but did not rank nationally in any medical specialty.
UNC Rex Healthcare ranked third in the region and eighth in the state, ranking highly in nine procedures and conditions, including aortic valve surgery, colon cancer bypass, heart bypass, and hip and knee replacement. WakeMed Health & Hospitals was fourth in the Triangle and 11th in the state, ranking highly in seven areas, including heart bypass, hip and knee replacement and heart failure.
Duke Raleigh Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital tied for fifth place in the Triangle, ranking highly in four areas and three areas.
The U.S. News rankings follow a report last month that gave Duke a mix of excellent and passing grades in most areas – like breast removal, coronary bypass and knee-replacement surgery – but a failing grade in hip surgeries.
That report, by MPRICA, a Seattle organization founded in 2014 by software entrepreneur Shakil Haroon, compared 10 of the nation’s most renowned hospitals in two dozen surgical categories.
Allan Kirk, chairman of the Department of Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine, told The News & Observer at the time that Duke Regional is Duke University Health System’s destination hospital for hip surgeries. Duke Regional Hospital and UNC Rex Healthcare were named as better alternatives for hip replacements by MPRICA.