Best Hospitals 2014-15: Guide to the Terms

The following terms appear in the adult hospital rankings.

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Details and a complete explanation of the rankings methodology are available in a downloadable PDF report

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FACT accreditation level Indicates Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy certification as of March 1, 2014, that the hospital meets standards for transplanting stem cells from a patient's own bone marrow and tissue to treat cancer. Additional credit if hospital is certified for transplantation from a donor other than the patient.
Intensivist on staff At least one critical-care specialist manages patients in one or more intensive care units.
NAEC epilepsy center Designated by National Association of Epilepsy Centers as of March 1, 2014, as a regional or national referral facility (level 4) for staffing, technology and training in epilepsy care.
NCI cancer center Designated by National Cancer Institute as of March 1, 2014, as a clinical or comprehensive cancer hospital.
NIA Alzheimer’s center Designated by National Institute on Aging as of March 1, 2014, as an Alzheimer’s Disease Center, indicating high quality of research and clinical care.
Nurse Magnet recognition Certified by American Nurses Credentialing Center as of March 1, 2014, for nursing excellence.
Nurse staffing score Relative balance of inpatient and outpatient RNs to daily average number of patients. Inpatient nurse staffing is weighed more heavily. Agency and temporary nurses are not counted.
Patient safety score Indicates ability to protect patients from eight categories of accidents and medical errors: pressure ulcers, death from preventable postsurgical complications, collapsed lung during certain procedures, postsurgical hip fractures, major postsurgical bleeding and bruising, postsurgical respiratory failure, surgical incisions that reopen and harm to patients during surgery.
Patient services score Number of services considered important to quality of care (such as genetic testing in cancer and Alzheimer's center in geriatrics) that are provided.
Patient volume Number of Medicare inpatients in 2010, 2011 and 2012 who received certain types of high-level care as defined by U.S. News.
Rank Based on U.S. News score in specialties other than ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology. In those four specialties, specialist recommendations determined rank.
Specialists recommending Percentage of board-certified physicians responding to U.S. News surveys in 2012, 2013 and 2014 who named hospital among best for the most challenging cases and procedures in their specialty, without considering location or cost.
Survival score Reflects inpatient deaths in the specialty within 30 days of admission.
Technology score Reflects availability of technologies considered important to quality of care in a specialty, such as PET/CT scanner in pulmonology and diagnostic radioisotope services in urology.
Trauma center Indicates certification as a Level 1 or 2 trauma center. Such a center can properly care for severe injuries.
U.S. News score Summarizes quality of inpatient care from 0 to 100. Combines specialists' recommendations (27.5 percent), survival (32.5 percent), patient safety (10 percent) and additional quality-related data such as patient volume and nursing care (30 percent).

See rankings in all 16 specialties: