Fortunately, few children have to face a serious condition like cancer, or need to undergo complicated surgery. Some do, however, and in these rare cases, sick children need the expertise that a typical hospital cannot provide. These little patients count on the specialized care provided by doctors and nurses at children's hospitals.
Since 2007, U.S. News has been using data to rank medical centers based on their ability to help the children who most need it. The rankings evaluate hospitals in 10 specialties. In the 2015-16 rankings, 83 hospitals were ranked among the top 50 in at least one specialty.
Twelve of the 83 ranked hospitals had high scores in three or more specialties and were named to the Honor Roll. This year, Boston Children's Hospital took the top spot.
2015 Best Children's Hospitals Honor Roll:
1. Boston Children's Hospital
2. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
3. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
4. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston
5. Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora
6. Seattle Children's Hospital
7. Children's Hospital Los Angeles
8. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
9. Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
10. Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
11. (tie) Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
11. (tie) Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
The rankings were compiled from a lengthy clinical survey sent to selected hospitals and a reputational survey sent to pediatric specialists and subspecialists. RTI International, a North Carolina-based research and consulting firm, directed the surveys and analyzed the results.
Of the 184 hospitals, 109 provided enough information through the survey to be considered for ranking in at least one specialty.
How a hospital was ranked depended on its performance in three areas: clinical outcomes, efficiency and coordination of care delivery, and care-related resources such as adequate nursing staff and auxiliary programs. Each of the three major areas contributed one-third of a hospital's score.
The top-ranked hospitals in each of the 10 pediatric specialties are:
To read the full report, go to http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings.