Keck Medicine is proud to be listed on the honor roll of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals, but how are those rankings achieved? And how does physician voting play a role?

The Best Hospitals rankings identify medical centers nationwide that are best able to care for patients with unusual or difficult diagnoses in 16 specialties. A vital component of those scores come from “expert opinion” — physicians voting for hospitals they consider the best for patients in their specialty. This voting primarily is done via an online survey of physicians registered on Doximity, an online networking service for medical professionals.

The 20 hospitals with the highest and most specialties ranked, as well as the greatest number of high-performing procedure and condition ratings, are recognized in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll.

According to US News & World Report’s hospital rankings 2020-2021 methodology report, four of the specialty rankings (ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology) rely solely on expert opinion. Twelve of the specialty rankings are based on data-driven analysis of performance in three categories: the institution’s structure, process and outcomes.

The structural measures include hospital volume, nurse staffing and other resources. Outcomes performance relies on patient survival and the rate at which hospitals discharge patients to home following inpatient care.

Process is represented by two factors: expert opinion and patient experience. Expert opinion accounts for 27.5% of the overall U.S. News ranking for most of the specialties, and it is the part of the score that physicians can impact by voting.

A hospital’s expert opinion score is based on the average number of nominations from the three most recent annual surveys of board-certified physicians conducted. The surveyed physicians are asked to nominate the hospitals in their specific field, without consideration of expense or location, that they consider best for patients with serious or difficult conditions. They can list as many as five hospitals.

Board-certified physicians in the 16 adult ranked specialty areas who were registered as Doximity users by Oct. 31, 2020 will be eligible to complete an online survey during the online voting period, expected to begin later this month and end sometime in March. More detailed information about eligibility requirements for voting physicians can be found at

A limited number of survey-eligible physicians who were not users of Doximity may receive surveys on paper.

The current 16 specialty rankings are: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes & endocrinology; ear, nose & throat; gastroenterology & GI surgery; geriatrics; gynecology; nephrology; neurology & neurosurgery; ophthalmology; orthopedics; pulmonology & lung surgery; psychiatry; rehabilitation; rheumatology; and urology.