Who are the Top 10 global hospitals and why?
Written by Shukti Sarma
1. Johns Hopkins Hospital, USA: Consistently ranking as the top hospital overall in almost all surveys and year-end lists, is the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA. It is best known for being the birthplace of genetic engineering, John Hopkins is also the place where the Nobel Prize winning discovery of restriction enzymes happened. Apart from that, it is also where the first male-male sex reassignment surgery happened. John Hopkins alumnae can boast of identifying three types of polio virus, discovering brain’s natural opiates and performing the first blue baby operation in the world.
John Hopkins is easily the most well known centre for medical advances, patient care and teaching. Some of the world’s most well known doctors have been or are associated with this hospital. Most of its specialties rank among the top five globally; such as gynecology, neurology and neurosurgery, urology, and rheumatology.
2. Asklepios Klinik Barmbek, Germany: The Asklepios Group is the biggest private operator of hospitals in the entire European continent, but the Hamburg centre is regarded as the crown jewel. This is a general hospital, but it ranks among the best in matters of cutting edge innovation and medical technology. Companies release drugs and equipment in the Klinik before they are made available to the rest of the world, and the centre boasts of excellent nursing and rehabilitation facilities. The Asklepios Klinik boasts of the world’s best known medical laboratory, and is well known for heart surgery and oncology specialties.
3.University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA: Being one of the original three comprehensive cancer centers in the United States established by the National Cancer Act of 1971, it remains the best and most well known centre for cancer care. The MD Anderson Cancer Centre is also affiliated with two prestigious medical schools, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the Baylor Medical College. It provides fellowship, internship and residency opportunities to Ph.D.s and medical professionals, and its courses on immunology,, virology and gene therapy attract the best students and teachers from all across the world.
4. Brigham and Women's Hospital, USA: Located in Boston, it is one of the largest healthcare provider in Massachusetts, and is the Harvard Medical School's second largest teaching affiliate. The center brings together a cancer institute and a hospital, creating 13 specialized disease centers. It also excels in neuroscience, arthritis and orthopedics. It is well known for its high quality research facility, and for over a decade, its Biomedical Research Institute has been one of the two hospitals receiving the most National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding among independent hospitals in the United States. Brigham and Women's Hospital also conducts popular demographic surveys.
5. Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK: The Great Ormond Street Hospital is the world’s first hospital that was established solely for the treatment of children. It remains one of the best in its field, but it is more well known for receiving the copyright to the children’s classic Peter Pan- all the royalties of which being channeled in research and treatment. Great Ormond Street Hospital is closely associated with University College London and is the largest centre for research and postgraduate teaching in children’s health in Europe. It is also the largest centre for children's heart or brain surgery, or children with cancer, in the UK.
6. Wooridul Spine Hospital, Seoul, South Korea: It is counted among theleading spine hospitals in the world. It is famous for developing a minimally invasive surgical treatment for those with problems in the lumbar, cervical and thoracic areas, and often treats patients with injection therapy. The advanced spinal surgical technique developed by Wooridul Hospital is bloodless and minimally invasive to save normal disc tissue. It is also well known for medical tourism, and is fast becoming the go-to name for treatment of joints.
7. Shouldice Hospital, Canada: The world’s most famous name in treatment of abdominal hernia, it is named after Dr. Edward Earle Shouldice, who developed a uses a natural tissue, tension free, technique for treatment during the second World War. Also known for its green initiatives, the Shouldice Hospital lists famous personalities as Joe Clark, Jack Layton and Ralph Nader as its patients. Shouldice Hospital is was famously made the subject of a case study by the Harvard Business School- and the same forms the part of the curricula of numerous schools worldwide.
8. Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand: It is probably best known for medical tourism, and is the biggest private hospital in Southeast Asia. It treats over a million patients every year, and has its own travel agency for extending visas and providing translators for foreigners. Internationally accredited, the BumrungradInternational Hospitalboasts of world class luxurious facilities. It accomplished the Thailand Quality Class Recognition Award in 2008, and has won a number of accolades internationally. The hospital represents virtually of all the specialties and subspecialties of medicine, and is regarded as a "one-stop" centre for medical services internationally.
9. Anadolu Medical Center, Turkey: The Anadolu Hospitalis a leading institution of oncology through its Bone Marrow Transplant Center. Opened only in 2005, it has emerged as one of the most sought after names in providing treatment for cancer. The hospital is affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the USA through Johns Hopkins Medicine International. IMRT and Cyberknife are two of the latest technologies used in cancer treatment developed at the Anadolu Medical Center. The hospital also provides multidisciplinary care, free check ups, patient education, first aid courses, and courses related to preventive medicine.
10. Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore: The flagship hospital of the Parkway Hospital Group, the GleneaglesHospital is a multi-disciplinary and state-of-the-art facilities; representing numerous specialties and sub specialties. It is well known for its doctors’ expertise, quality care, user-friendly services and modern technology, and specialties such as cardiology, oncology, obstetrics, gynecology and orthopedicsare regarded as among the best in the world. The Gleneagles Hospital is best known for a 2005 operation, in which a medical team operated for 10 hours to separate two conjoined twins from Indonesia who were attached at the hip.
The role of tech in public healthcare
Patient backlogs, aging populations, increasing amounts of data, the COVID-19 pandemic and a workforce experiencing burnout are just some of the challenges the world's hospitals are experiencing.
Switching to cloud-based digital systems provided by a third party, like electronic health records (EHR) and e-prescriptions, is an obvious solution. According to Peter Springfield, Cloud Product Manager at Node4, all healthcare providers will need to make this change eventually. "Over time, as legacy technology gets older and the demands placed on it increase, storage systems often can’t keep up" he says. "There comes a point for every healthcare organisation when existing IT simply won’t meet its needs anymore. Instead, healthcare facilities need full, near-instant availability of data to make effective decisions and provide good patient care."
Patient data must be readily accessible when needed, stored in a regulation-compliant environment, while remaining cost effective. But how does a paper-based hospital with an overstretched workforce manage this process, while keeping data safe from cyber attacks? By finding a company that can provide the right solution, and working in partnership with them.
Moving to the cloud
The challenge in healthcare, Springfield says, is that many organisations have siloed pools of data stored in separate repositories. "Often, these systems don’t scale well and don’t have the security protections necessary to meet today’s requirements."
"Cloud-based storage can scale as high as required. The best cloud vendors also assure high availability and good performance. And because organisations pay only for the capacity they use with cloud-based storage, costs can be lower. As a result, the cloud model also allows healthcare organisations to store and access all data associated with a specific patient, procedure or business unit in one place."
Another option is to choose Storage as a Service (STaaS). "This is where a third-party provider owns and manages the storage infrastructure, while the healthcare facility can dictate rules on storage, retention and access, along with service level requirements. This structure means that healthcare facilities can access storage on-demand, paying only for the amount they use, without worrying about buying, managing and maintaining physical devices."
Most healthcare providers are choosing a hybrid model, which allows them to use the cloud for everything except the most sensitive data. "Because security and privacy are critical issues for healthcare organisations, the temptation is to keep everything on-premises" Springfield says. "While that can make sense for especially sensitive workloads and applications because it provides tighter controls, it may not be viable for the longer term, as the amount of data that must be managed and stored continues growing."
Keeping patient data secure is not just crucial for the patients, but for the healthcare provider too. Ransomware attacks - where a hacker demands money in exchange for not releasing private data - have risen dramatically in recent years, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2020 alone these rose by 55%, costing almost $21 billion in downtime.
Healthcare providers' inhouse IT departments may not have the knowledge or the resources needed to combat sophisticated attacks, making it necessary to partner with trusted cybersecurity companies.
"Healthcare organisations are moving away from doing everything themselves and doing a lot of outsourcing in the cloud" says Terry Ray, Senior Vice President at cybersecurity firm Imperva. "They may have been running Cerner as their electronic medical record system for 15 years for example, but many are now shifting to say, "why am I running Cerner? Why don't I just pay Cerner to run Cerner? They can enter their data into Cerner's EMR and let it be their problem."
"The field is getting larger and larger, and the enterprise and scope of what needs to be secured is getting bigger" he adds. "You can't have gaps in security. Organisations must look at everything."
While security and data storage are two typical areas where public healthcare providers lean on the tech sector, another has been emerging since the pandemic: telehealth. As well as providing access to doctor appointments during the successive lockdowns caused by COVID-19, telemedicine can help deliver healthcare to remote or rural locations that lack health facilities.
Virtual care solutions are wide-ranging, from Vodafone supplying the connectivity for IoT devices that help elderly people living on remote Greek islands to monitor their diabetes, to TytoCare's portable device that enables doctors to travel to remote regions and examine the heart, lungs, throat, and body temperature of patients using artificial intelligence.
Busy doctors' surgeries are using digital platforms to help them triage patients - such as eConsult, a digital platform used by the British National Health Service (NHS) in primary and emergency care to assess which patients need to urgently speak to a clinician.
As with all tech solutions, security and data privacy are vital. "The potential for technology to improve healthcare is almost limitless" Springfield says "The key is remembering where it starts and ends - with data."
- This article appears in the August issue of Healthcare