Isn’t that nice!

We have all heard about “Iowa nice.” Iowans tend to work hard and do an outstanding job, but are modest and do not seek recognition or brag. Well … I will try to retain my “Iowa nice” but will cross the line slightly when it comes to modesty.

An annual rite of passage for academic medical centers is the release of national rankings such as the US News and World Report listing of “Best Hospitals.” Leaders of medical centers acknowledge that the formulas used to calculate these ratings are quite arbitrary and don’t directly measure the quality of the care we deliver.   For example, reputation score plays a major role in the rankings, changes slowly over time and can be influenced by creative approaches to marketing.

Nevertheless, despite these limitations, we look carefully to see how our ratings change from year to year, and think about how we can improve them.

This year, the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center was ranked No. 27 nationally among cancer hospitals. We had the highest possible scores in survival, number of high-risk Medicare patients, advanced technologies and patient services as well as recognition for being an NCI-designated cancer center and a Nurse Magnet hospital.   This ranking is particularly notable given that the majority of top-ranked cancer hospitals are in major metropolitan areas.   Indeed, we are the only cancer center ranked in the top 50 in a town as small as Iowa City.

It is gratifying to see the hard work, excellence, team spirit and dedication of our faculty, nurses, and staff get recognized at the national level even if by an imperfect mechanism such as the US News rankings.

Not bad for a hospital in the middle of the corn fields!

As we say in Iowa – “Isn’t that nice!”

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