Updated 04 November 2019

Best hospital cities ranking 2019 revealed – and African cities didn't make the list... we asked why

Africa didn't feature at all on the list of best hospital cities in the world. We ask why.

What makes a hospital the best? Serving patients with excellent care involves the right mixture of multiple aspects. For digital healthcare provider Medbelle this basically comprises infrastructure, quality of care and access. 

Medbelle released a study revealing the 100 best hospital cities in the world, and within these three categories research covered aspects like the quality of medical education, the number of hospital beds, the number of nurses and cancer treatment efficiency. The cost of medicine and the prevalence of mental health specialists were also considered.

To start off, the cities hosting the best hospitals and medical schools were shortlisted. Then the determining factors were split into three basic categories: Infrastructure, Quality of Care, and Access

These data points were then utilised to score each city based on their overall hospital infrastructure to arrive at the top 100 hospital cities in the world.

Coming in at number one was Tokyo, Japan, which had the highest overall Quality of Care score in the index, with the highest Top-Ranking Hospitals score, and a very high Access score.

Boston, USA, ranked the second best hospital city in the world, with the highest overall Infrastructure score, including the best Top-Ranking Medical Universities, high Top-Ranking Hospitals score, and Mental Health Specialists score.

Taking third place was London, UK, while Paris, France, took 4th place, with France achieving the highest overall Access score of any nation.

In the Infrastructure category, the following countries made the highest ranking:

  • Hospital beds/Capita: Heidelberg, Germany
  • Nurses/Capita: Basel, Switzerland
  • Surgeons/Capita: Hamburg, Germany
  • Mental health specialists/Capita: Richmond, USA
  • Top-ranking medical universities: Boston, USA
  • Top-ranking hospital: Tokyo, Japan

Under Quality of Care, the following countries made the highest ranking:

  • Satisfaction: Incheon, South Korea
  • Adverse Events: A joint score between cities in Switzerland, Norway and Singapore
  • Cancer Treatment Efficiency: Tokyo, Japan

For the Access category, the following countries made the highest ranking:

  • Access: Oslo, Norway
  • Cost of medicine: Canadian cities
  • Discretionary healthcare spending: Beijing, China

The table below shows the results for the top 20 Best Hospital Cities in the world:

top 20 best


African cities weren’t considered

After noting that no African cities made the list, Health24 contacted the research team about the reason behind this. They explained that African cities didn’t make it in the rankings because the city selection was primarily based on the World Health Organization (WHO) healthcare system ranking, and the rankings of top-performing hospitals. 

They further explained that all of the prospect countries in Africa lacked a lot of publicly available information that was mandatory for the research team in question to compare them to the rest of the world, hence the exclusion from the study.

More than just a 'world-class' hospital

While a city can boast a world-class hospital, if the overall medical framework does not offer easy access and high-quality care to all its citizens, then there is still room for improvement, notes the study. This is why Medbelle compiled a ranking of the best hospital cities, focusing on the overall hospital ecosystem in the area, rather than on individual institutions.

“There are several existing hospital rankings, but this is the first-ever comparison of top hospital cities which looks at the bigger picture and answers this very important question: Do the medical facilities in a given city cater to all of the patients, not just the wealthy or privileged ones?” said Daniel Kolb, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Medbelle.

Kolb added that Medbelle wanted the study to shine a light on the importance of healthcare infrastructure by looking at medical education, the deficit of surgeons and nurses, and accessibility. 

"Without these basic building blocks, a city cannot offer all of its citizens the medical care they need. Every city featured in this ranking is at the top of their game in terms of hospital infrastructure.

"While we want to congratulate excellence, we hope this study can also offer a springboard for cities to see how they can improve every aspect of the medical offerings in their region.”

You can find the complete list of results at

Image: iStock


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