Health Systems

DFW is the 13th Best “Hospital City” in the Country

DFW is the 13th best city for overall healthcare, and 74th in the world, according to a report from healthcare technology company Medbelle. There have long been rankings of the best hospitals in the country, but this survey looks at the overall medical framework, including access to the system in the region rather than individual institutions.

The study looked at infrastructure, quality of care, and access. Dallas scored well (11th in the country) on infrastructure, with good numbers of providers per capita and quality hospitals and universities, but had the second-fewest mental health providers in the rankings, only beating out Houston in that category (see our D CEO column about the behavioral health shortage in the region). Dallas also scored poorly on nurses and hospital beds per capita as well. The region’s infrastructure was buoyed by high scores in number of surgeons, universities, and hospitals per capita.

But despite having good hospitals in the region, Dallas ranked dead last on the study for U.S. cities when it came to quality, which included patient satisfaction, adverse events, and cancer treatment efficiency. Dallas was second to last in the ranking for patient satisfaction and efficiency. But the region was top five when it came to overall access, which included cost and discretionary medical spending. Cost was determined by finding the sourcing the costs of a group of three medications that the WHO named as essential medicines: cortisone, aspirin, and activated charcoal.

While hospital rankings are great marketing for the institutions, they doesn’t always reflect how those organizations impact their communities. While the U.S. had four cities ranked in the top 15 for worldwide hospital rankings, only one (Boston) was in the top 15 overall, often because citizens lacked access to the prestigious institutions where they lived. “The US has the highest number of top-ranking hospital cities and leads the world in medical universities, however, US cities rank low among developed countries when it comes to access. For example, Houston has one of the best medical infrastructures worldwide, but it comes low in the percentage of its citizens who can take advantage of it,” says Daniel Kolb, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Medbelle via release.

Dallas also has a number of highly ranked hospitals, but it is also a region with the worst uninsured rate in the nation by some measures, with wide disparity in health outcomes. A few miles in can add or subtract decades off residents’ life expectancy in Dallas. And despite the cost measures of this survey, when hospital costs and procedures are factored in, Dallas is one of the costliest places to receive healthcare. Dallas may be one of the top 15 hospital cities in the nation, but Dallas County ranks just 54th in health outcomes statewide.

Boston, Massachusetts was the best hospital city in the country and second in the world to Tokyo, Japan. Worldwide, the United States scored well  for Infrastructure and Quality of Care, but struggled when it came to access, much like Dallas.

The study looked at hospital beds, nurses, surgeons, and mental health specialists per capita, top ranking medical universities and hospitals, patient satisfaction, adverse events, efficiency, access, cost, and discretionary healthcare spending for 100 of the top healthcare cities worldwide, including 31 in the U.S. In the study, “Dallas” includes the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan statistical area. See the entire survey here.

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