Almost 1,000 doctors responding to a survey by U.S. News & World Report ranked Johns Hopkins Hospital among the best in the nation for 13 of 15 specialties -- earning it the magazine's designation as the best hospital overall.
In earning that distinction, Johns Hopkins edged out three other hospitals with wide reputations for excellence: the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn.; Massachusetts General Hospital of Boston, and the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Rounding out the top 10 were: Cleveland Clinic; Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York; Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C.; Stanford University Hospital in California; and University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Robert M. Heyssel, president of Hopkins Hospital, took the ranking in stride.
"We were No. 2 last year, and I figured that was a mistake," he said, chuckling.
The poll, published in this week's issue of U.S. News, was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, a social-science polling group at the University of Chicago.
Pollsters contacted 1,501 doctors who specialize in 15 areas of medicine, asking each one to list in no particular order the five leading hospitals in his or her own specialty without regard to expense and location. In all, 965 doctors responded.
Hospitals that were mentioned most often were placed on the "best list" for particular specialties; those that turned up most often in the specialty rankings earned a spot on the "Best of the Best" list.
Johns Hopkins was ranked best for ophthalmology and urology. It was also ranked among the best for AIDS, cancer, cardiology, endocrinology (glands and hormones), gastroenterology (digestive system), gynecology, neurology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), pediatrics, psychiatry and rheumatology (joints, muscles and connective tissues).
Last year, the Mayo Clinic was ranked first in the magazine's first attempt to rank the nation's hospitals. That survey was done by a different polling organization using different methods.