Healthgrades Announces 2022 Analysis of Top Hospitals for Specialty Care and Specialty Excellence Report

Annual ratings, awards and report empower Americans to find the highest quality care and recognize excellence in U.S. hospitals across 17 medical specialties

DENVER--()--Healthgrades, the leading resource that connects consumers, physicians and health systems, today released the 2022 Healthgrades Ratings and Specialty Excellence Awards. The ratings assess hospital performance across 31 of the most common procedures and conditions. The awards recognize superior clinical performance in 17 specialty areas and include a new category for overall surgical care. This list of all award recipients is available here.

As part of its analysis, Healthgrades has also released The 2022 Healthgrades Specialty Excellence Report: The Continuing Importance of Quality, which provides an in-depth review and data analysis to show how Americans can use quality ratings to find better specialty care. The report also includes insights from the ongoing Healthgrades COVID-19 Patient Confidence Study.

“Every American should use this information to help them decide where to seek specialty care,” said Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Data Science of Healthgrades. “Healthgrades also provides the tools for hospitals to understand how well they perform compared with other local, regional and national hospitals—and to make improvements accordingly.”

Quality data for objective measures of excellence

The 2022 Healthgrades Specialty Excellence Awards recognize hospitals that deliver superior patient outcomes across the most common in-hospital procedures and conditions, including surgical care, critical care, cardiac care and surgery, gastrointestinal care and surgery, bariatric surgery, and 10 other specialties. Full methodology is available here.

  • The awards take into consideration Medicare patient data from 2018-2020 (excluding any patient with a COVID-19 diagnosis).
  • Healthgrades independently analyzes each short-term acute care hospital in the country—about 4,500 hospitals. Hospitals can’t opt into or out of the analysis.
  • Ratings are determined by actual clinical performance, including patient mortality or in-hospital complications. The ratings and awards do not take into consideration hospital reputation, financial information, perception, or predicted performance.
  • Healthgrades uses a risk-adjusted statistical model so hospitals with sicker patient populations are assessed based on their unique patient mix.

Patients fare significantly better at high-performing hospitals

The results of the Healthgrades analysis have some startling ramifications. For example, from 2018-2020:

  • The risk of having a complication in a knee replacement surgery is 74.0% lower at a hospital with a 5-star rating than being treated in a hospital with a 1-star rating*
  • Patients treated for Heart Attack in hospitals with 1-star for in-hospital mortality are, on average, 2 times more likely to die than if they were treated in hospitals with 5-stars for in-hospital mortality.*
  • If all hospitals performed as well as the hospitals with 5-star ratings 218,141 lives could potentially have been saved, and 156,050 health complications could potentially have been avoided*

All ratings information is published on, indicating which hospitals are 1, 3 or 5 star for each of the rated specialties. Patients can view hospital profiles to see how hospitals are performing relative to other local options.

“Hospital quality ratings should be transparent and easily accessible so that all Americans can make the most informed decision about where they receive care,” said Brad Graner, President, Healthgrades. “Many people don’t realize that there is significant variation in quality among hospitals. Healthgrades is leading the way to make hospital quality information transparent and accessible so that all Americans can make the most informed decision about where they receive care.”

Three-quarters of surveyed Americans are very comfortable participating in medical related activities

Despite pandemic-related drops in confidence for activities like air travel and attending large public events, 76% of Americans are comfortable with healthcare-related activities like visiting their primary care physician, going to an urgent care facility, and having in-office medical procedures, according to the Healthgrades COVID-19 Patient Confidence Study. The study also found that:

  • Most patients have not changed the frequency that they visit their health care providers, ~70% report that the frequency of their HCP visits have either increased or remained the same since the pandemic began.
  • A majority of Americans—60%—say quality of care is more important to them now than it was before the pandemic began.

To learn more, read the Healthgrades 2022 Specialty Excellence Report here.
View the full list of Specialty Excellence Award recipients here.
For more information on how Healthgrades measures hospital quality, access the complete methodology here.

About Healthgrades

Healthgrades is the leading marketplace to find and connect with the right doctor, the right hospital and the right care. Half of Americans who visit a doctor this year will visit Healthgrades as part of their healthcare journey. Healthgrades makes healthcare more accessible and transparent for consumers by differentiating providers based on patient satisfaction, physician experience and hospital outcomes. The search for the right care starts at Healthgrades. Healthgrades is part of RV Health, a Red Ventures business, which has the largest consumer health and wellness audience online across its brand portfolio including,,,, and Each month, RV Health helps more than 100 million unique visitors live their strongest and healthiest lives. RV Health employs more than 700 people across San Francisco, New York City, Charlotte, Denver, Atlanta and more.

For its analysis, Healthgrades evaluated approximately 45 million Medicare inpatient records for nearly 4,500 short-term acute care hospitals nationwide to assess hospital performance in 31 common conditions and procedures and evaluated outcomes in appendectomy and bariatric surgery using all-payer data provided by 16 states. Healthgrades recognizes a hospital’s quality achievements for cohort-specific performance, specialty area performance, and overall clinical quality. Individual procedure or condition cohorts are designated as 5-star (statistically significantly better than expected), 3-star (not statistically different from expected) and 1-star (statistically significantly worse than expected).


*Statistics are based on Healthgrades analysis of MedPAR data for years 2018 through 2020 and represent three-year estimates for Medicare patients only. For appendectomy and bariatric surgery, Healthgrades used inpatient data from 16 states that provide all-payer data for years 2017 through 2019. Due to the highly variable impact of the pandemic on hospital outcomes, Healthgrades made the decision to exclude cases with a COVID-19 diagnosis from the 2020 data in order to preserve the statistical integrity of our models and fairly evaluate clinical outcomes at all hospitals.


Steve Swasey


Steve Swasey