Researchers rank best ‘hospital cities’ in the US and the world

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published November 6, 2019

Key Takeaways

Which large cities have the best hospitals in the United States? In the world? Fear not: researchers at MedBelle—a London- and Berlin-based digital hospital provider of application programs, software, and systems for medical procedures—have done the calculations for us, ranking the top cities for hospital infrastructure based on quality, accessibility, and ecosystem. They analyzed each hospital within each city designated as a "top hospital city."

"The ranking is designed to celebrate the cities around the world successfully offering high-quality medical care to all of its citizens, and every city in this final ranking should be applauded for their efforts," they noted.

The following factors were considered in Medbelle's analysis:

  • Infrastructure: Hospital beds, nurses per capita, surgeons per capita, mental health specialists per capita, top-ranking medical universities, and top-ranking hospitals
  • Quality of care: Patients satisfaction, adverse events*, and cancer treatment efficiency
  • Access: Access, cost of medicine, and discretionary healthcare spending

Researchers scored each factor out of 100, with 100 being the best score. Final city rankings were based on highest scores.

1. Boston, MA

Total score: 99.64

Not surprisingly, Boston—home to Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Tufts and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centers, as well as Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and University of Massachusetts-Worcester—garnered an absolute perfect score for top-ranking medical universities (100.00), and a 97.70 score in top-ranking hospitals, along with the highest score of surgeons per capita (25.13), for an infrastructure total of 100.00. This was higher than any other city in the United States. For total quality of care, New England's largest city scored a whopping 92.80, with top marks for treatment efficiency (95.75). Finally, Boston had the top score of all the cities compared for total access to care (61.96).

2. Los Angeles, CA:

Total score: 89.89

Home to the University of SoCal, UCLA, and UC-Irvine, Los Angeles scored an 88.67 for total infrastructure, with top marks for top-ranking hospitals (94.97), and not-so-top marks for surgeons per capita (9.44) or hospital beds per capita (26.64). Nevertheless, the City of Angels scored well in total quality of care (87.58), with a high ranking for treatment efficiency (89.22). For total access of care, it scored 56.00.

3. New York, NY

Total score: 89.33

For infrastructure total, New York scored just higher (88.68) than Los Angeles, with a similarly higher scores for treatment efficiency (89.63) and for its top-ranking hospitals (94.99), which include NewYork-Presbyterian, NYU Langone Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. The Big Apple also scored well in both total quality of care (85.57) and total access to care (55.87).

4. Baltimore, MD

Total score: 86.58

With the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital to the east and the Maryland Medical Center to the west, it's no surprise Baltimore is on the list of top cities in this ranking. For infrastructure, it scored an 80.89, with high marks for top-ranking hospitals, but low marks for surgeons per capita (7.38). Notably, Baltimore's quality of care total ranked number one in the United States (94.15). Its total access of care ranking (54.46) was bolstered by a high access rank (66.79) and a relatively favorable cost ranking (37.05).

5. Chicago, IL

Total score: 84.78

The Windy City came in fifth in the rankings for the United States, beating out Baltimore in top-ranking hospitals (89.92), for an infrastructure total of 82.54. Think Northwestern Memorial, University of Chicago Hospital, and Rush University Medical Center. In total quality of care, Chicago scored 86.50, and for total access, 51.53. Notably high was the city's treatment efficiency (90.95), and notably low, its surgeons per capita (7.84).

Top hospital cities in the world

MedBelle also ranked the top hospital cities in the world. Notably, Boston again made this list, in the #2 spot:

1. Tokyo, Japan

Total score: 100.00

Like Boston, Tokyo achieved a perfect score in top-ranking hospitals (100.00), with its University of Tokyo Hospital, St. Luke's International, and Kurashiki Central Hospital representing three of the world's best hospitals. As a hospital city, Tokyo achieved a perfect total score of 100.00, the only city on either list to do so. And, it scored a perfect 100.00 for quality of care, as well. Notably good were Tokyo's rankings for adverse events (99.78) and access (94.62), but not so good was its score for surgeons per capita. Its total infrastructure score was 88.60 and total access, 82.88.

2. Boston, MA

Total score: 99.64

In this ranking of top hospital cities in the world, Boston came in #2, and it's no surprise as the city had an almost perfect score in each of the categories considered in the ranking.

3. London, UK

Total score: 98.96

One of the top centers of medicine for hundreds of years, London scored high in total infrastructure (91.98), second only to Boston. Particularly high were its scores for top-ranking hospitals (96.66) and top-ranking medical universities (88.10), which are understandable when considering assets such as Guy's Hospital, St. Thomas' Hospital, The Royal Free Hospital, Imperial College, and the University College London. Its quality of care total score was 76.06, beating even Boston for fewer adverse events (83.03). Finally, London had a great score for access to care, with a total of 96.12, again beating out Boston for all rankings in this category, including access (87.45), cost of medicine (88.47), and discretionary healthcare spending (81.97).

4. Paris, France

Total score: 98.72

In its assessment of world healthcare systems done in 2000, the World Health Organization found that France provided the "closest to best overall healthcare" in the world. So, it's no surprise that even two decades later, Paris has made the list of best hospital cities in the world. Its infrastructure total score was 90.86, just barely under London's and besting Tokyo's. Particularly high marks were seen for top-ranking hospitals (95.33) and hospital beds per capita (90.47). The University Hospital of Bordeaux and Pitié-Salpêtrière were ranked the best hospital in France and the best hospital in Paris, respectively, in Le Point's 2016 annual list of the top 50 clinics, and both were named best hospitals in France. In total quality of care, Paris received a 74.02 ranking, but for total access, it garnered a perfect score (100.00), with high marks for access (93.51).

5. Seoul, South Korea

Total score: 98.55

Seoul is the world leader in IT and has the world's fastest average internet connection speeds. It also boasts nearly too many temples to count and four major palaces. In a land of such diversity, it is perhaps surprising to know that Seoul also ranks high on the list of cities with the best hospitals. In hospital infrastructure overall, Seoul scored 87.51, with high marks for its top-ranking hospitals (95.41), which include the Asan and Samsung Medical Centers and Seoul National University Hospital. Seoul's hospital beds per capita also received a high score (83.95). For total quality of care, the city scored 90.59, and its score for adverse events (96.71) was bested only by that of Tokyo among the top 5 hospital cities. In total access as well, Seoul garnered a high score (89.73).

To see MedBelle's full listing of rankings, for both the United States and the world, go to

* A high adverse events score means that few injuries occurred as a result of medical treatment.

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