The Top 100 Hospitals In The World: Important Leadership & Innovation Lessons For Africa’s Healthcare Ecosystem

"A certain intellectual mindset, an academic culture, a strong focus on patient outcomes and an inspiring environment for young talents are the ingredients for a premier hospital that lasts over decades."
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The Top 100 Hospitals In The World: What Africa Must Learn

Africa still has a lot to learn from developed countries.

Sadly, though, and unfortunately, we are not putting enough effort into learning from more advanced nations. 

We are rather more concerned and bothered with securing more aid and piling up more debts. 

Africa needs to sit down and build all its sectors. We can’t rely on developed countries forever. Besides, the world is changing fast. The world we see today is not like the one we had some fifty or hundred years ago. Things have changed and will keep on changing, drastically. If Africa does not keep up with the changes, we will be left behind.

One sector that needs urgent help in Africa, is the healthcare sector. Despite the amount of money African countries make every year, very little of it is spent on developing the healthcare sector. Especially in a country like Nigeria, where medical tourism and brain drain are gradually eating the country up.

Some’ of the government hospitals in Nigeria are almost like “death zones“. Though we are grateful to some of the private hospitals that have come to the rescue. The only problem is that most of these private hospitals are far from the reach of the average Nigerian.

In Lagos state, the average ICU initial deposit in private hospitals is between 1.5 million nairas and 3 million naira

Where will the average Nigerian get that kind of money from? Even their national healthcare insurance will not be able to cover a quarter of that amount.

The politicians who suck the country dry do not even set their feet in the government hospitals they claim to have built. Instead, they fly abroad to receive care, or run to the big private hospitals in Lagos or Abuja, like the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, did some months ago.

But when we look at the government hospitals in developed countries [especially in the United States], it’s a different story entirely.

Recently, NEWSWEEK ranked the world’s hospitals, and the United States alone had 25 of its healthcare institutions featured, many of which are government-owned.

Here’s the list of the top 100 hospitals in the worldaccording to Newsweek. You can also find the list at the end of this article. 

Check it out on their official website here

What a list! 

We can’t even find African hospitals on that list. I guess we still have a long way to go.

There’s a lot Africa must learn from these healthcare institutions. 

Next, we will highlight some of the leadership and innovation lessons Africa must learn from these healthcare institutions if we ever want to have a healthcare ecosystem that can take care of our people.

“Close peer collaboration, a team approach to care and salaried doctors have helped the Mayo Clinic become a leading institution,”

Jeffrey Bolton. 

Patients Come First

Not money, or doctors, or nurses, or whomsoever. Patients. Without them, there’s no need to have hospitals in the first place. 

Unfortunately, in Africa, that’s most often not the case. Instead, healthcare institutions put the pursuit of money first before patients—twisting, turning, and manipulating policies in favour of making more cash to the detriment of the patient’s well-being. 

Leadership & Innovation

Healthcare institutions that are always ready to innovate will have no problem attracting top talent. And when top talents make up the bulk of a company’s community, it will be way easier to lead them “up” the path of innovation and growth.  

Strong healthcare institutions that have weaved the culture of innovation and leadership into the very fabric of their structures are the ones that can withstand any storm. 

Fortunately for us here in Africa, the pandemic was somewhat kind to us because if what happened in developed countries was replicated here in Africa, I wonder what the story would look like. You can’t imagine it. 

Yet, one still wonders if Africa is learning anything. 

Embracing The Culture of Excellence

Hospitals and healthcare institutions that have clear missions and visions and are ready to follow them no matter what are the types of organisations that will always strive to pursue excellence. 

This drive should be first seen among the top leadership, which in turn must flow down and reflect in how all employees carry out their daily duties. 

An Enabling Environment For Employees

“A certain intellectual mindset, an academic culture, a strong focus on patient outcomes and an inspiring environment for young talents are the ingredients for a premier hospital that lasts over decades.”

Deerberg-Wittram

You see, work culture is changing drastically [this isn’t the 80s]. 

This change is affecting every kind of organisation, and the healthcare community is not exempted from this cultural transformation. 

Young people make up the bulk of the workforce, and they have a very different approach to work. 

They are young, smart, full of juice and ready to give their best. 

Organisations of today must be ready to adapt to accommodate this new generation of people. 

If they discover that the organisation that they work for isn’t paying any attention to their growth and development, they will naturally become cold. 

They don’t know how to pretend and take a beating like the older generation. 

They will show their displeasure and it will affect the overall performance of the organisation. 

Healthcare institutions must consider this changing workplace culture and do all that they can to adjust and adapt

Healthcare institutions of this new age must be ready to design the ideal environment for their employees to grow and succeed. 

The Digital Culture

Top hospitals have very robust digital health structures. They already exist in the future. They understand that digital technology is already taking over and nothing is going to change that.

These healthcare institutions spend enough time, resources, and expertise to ensure that the digital health structures that they design are of overall benefit to both patients and the organisation.


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The Mayo Magic

“The wisdom of peers is greater than any individual.”

The Mayo Philosophy

I took some time to study Mayo Clinic, the number one healthcare organisation on the planet according to Newsweek.  

And I found some very interesting facts. 

My finds have formed a large part of the body of this article. I do believe some of them, though, merit further iteration.

  • Patient-centred teamwork approach to care: teamwork, instead of position or hierarchy. In Africa, our healthcare ecosystem suffers from this disease where teamwork almost doesn’t exist. Ideas only flow from one direction, and this deficiency has affected everyone. If we ever want to move forward, we must change it. And allow everyone to get involved in building and designing.

“The collaborative model is still alive and well in the organization, said Bolton. Indeed, he added, Mayo is one of the largest integrated group practices — not only within and across specialties but in administration, nursing and technology.”

—Jeffery Bolton, Mayo Clinic’s chief administrative officer.
  • Physician-led Healthcare Institutions: Let clinicians who are experienced enough in core patient care co-lead with an administrative hand that understands hospital administration. I am an advocate for clinician-led hospital organisations, not just for the physicians alone, but let it go round. It still boils down to teamwork and intensive collaboration. 

“American medicine is often criticized for being too profit-oriented, sometimes at the expense of optimal patient care.”

Jeffery Bolton, Mayo Clinic’s chief administrative officer. 
  • Balancing business and healthcare: This is where many healthcare institutions [especially in Africa] get it wrong. Some tend to place so much emphasis on the aspect of healthcare while neglecting the business side. On the other hand, there are healthcare institutions that focus on the business side to the detriment of patient and client wellbeing. Mayo Clinic seems to have gotten to a level where they have struck a very healthy balance between business and healthcare

In Conclusion

I strongly believe that Africa’s healthcare ecosystem can become great if only we could learn from what the developed countries are doing right. 

It’s not going to just be a “copy and paste” affair, because things are a little bit different here in Africa, considering the deeply etched problem of bad leadership, which has been one of our biggest problems since colonial powers decided to leave our shores. 

Africa has the potential to build world-class healthcare systems. We have the resources and the labour. What is lacking is true vision.  

We hope that the next generation of African leaders will have a different approach to leadership. We pray hard that they will not inherit from their fathers the nonchalance and unseriousness that has caused us to remain in one spot as a continent despite having all that we need to become great and admired by the world. 

There are a lot of healthcare institutions on the African continent that are making waves and changing the narrative. The problem we have is that many of them are private healthcare institutions that, most of the time, do not have the full backing of the government. So, they have to survive by placing unreasonably high financial burdens on patients who have the “money muscles” to afford their high-end services. 

What about the common man?


There’s still a whole lot to write on this interesting topic. But let’s leave it here for now.  I hope to revisit it in the future as an entirely fresh article or make major updates to this one.

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According To Newsweek, The Top 100 Hospitals In The World:

Mayo Clinic – Rochester United States Rochester.

2 Cleveland Clinic United States Cleveland.

3 Massachusetts General Hospital United States, Boston.

4 Toronto General – University Health Network Canada, Toronto.

5 Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin Germany Berlin.

6 The Johns Hopkins Hospital United States , Baltimore.

7 AP-HP – Hôpital Universitaire Pitié Salpêtrière France, Paris.

8 Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Sweden Solna.

9 UCLA Health – Ronald Reagan Medical Center United States Los Angeles. 

10 Sheba Medical Center Israel Ramat Gan

11 Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois Switzerland Lausanne

12 Singapore General Hospital Singapore Singapore

13 The University of Tokyo Hospital Japan Tokyo

14 Universitätsspital Basel Switzerland Basel

15 Universitätsspital Zürich Switzerland Zürich

16 Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg Germany Heidelberg

17 Brigham And Women’s Hospital United States Boston MA

18 AP-HP – Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou France Paris

19 Aarhus Universitetshospital Denmark Aarhus

20 Stanford Health Care – Stanford Hospital United States Stanford CA

21 New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell United States New York NY

22 Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München Germany München

23 St. Luke’s International Hospital Japan Tokyo

24 Allgemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Wien – Medizinischer Universitätscampus Austria Wien

25 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Canada Toronto

26 Rigshospitalet – København Denmark København

27 Mount Sinai Hospital Canada Toronto

28 Northwestern Memorial Hospital United States Chicago IL

29 The Mount Sinai Hospital United States New York NY

30 Asan Medical Center South Korea Seoul

31 Oslo Universitetssykehus Norway Oslo

32 Les Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) – Cluse-Roseraie Switzerland Genève

33 Medizinische Hochschule Hannover Germany Hannover

34 Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein Brazil Sao Paulo

35 LMU Klinikum Germany München

36 University of Michigan Hospitals – Michigan Medicine United States Ann Arbor MI

37 Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli Italy Roma

38 Amsterdam UMC The Netherlands Amsterdam

39 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center United States Los Angeles CA

40 Duke University Hospital United States Durham NC

41 St Thomas’ Hospital United Kingdom London

42 Helsinki University Hospital Finland Helsinki

43 Samsung Medical Center South Korea Seoul

44 UMC Utrecht The Netherlands Utrecht

45 UZ Leuven Belgium

46 Kameda Medical Center Japan Kamogawa

47 CHU Lille – Hôpital Claude-Huriez France Lille

48 UCSF Medical Center United States San Francisco CA

49 Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf Germany Hamburg

50 Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda Italy Milano

51 Akademiska Sjukhuset Sweden Uppsala

52 Hospital Universitario La Paz Spain Madrid

53 Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – Penn Presbyterian United States Philadelphia PA

54 University College Hospital United Kingdom London

55 Seoul National University Hospital South Korea Seoul

56 Rush University Medical Center United States Chicago IL

57 Landeskrankenhaus Universitätskliniken Innsbruck Austria Innsbruck

58 Turku University Hospital Finland Turku

59 NYU Langone Hospitals United States New York NY

60 Policlinico Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Italy Bologna

61 Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville United States Jacksonville FL

62 Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum The Netherlands Leiden

63 Hospital Clínic de Barcelona Spain Barcelona

64 North York General Hospital Canada Toronto

65 Tampere University Hospital Finland Tampere

66 Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre Spain Madrid

67 UCLA Health – Santa Monica Medical Center United States Santa Monica CA

68 Mayo Clinic – Phoenix United States Phoenix AZ

69 Universitätsklinikum Tübingen Germany Tübingen

70 Severance Hospital – Yonsei University South Korea Seoul

71 Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Australia Camperdown

72 Universitätsklinikum Freiburg Germany Freiburg

73 CHU Bordeaux – Groupe hospitalier Pellegrin France Bordeaux

74 Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum The Netherlands Nijmegen

75 Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón Spain Madrid

76 Kyushu University Hospital Japan Fukuoka

77 Houston Methodist Hospital United States Houston TX

78 Center Hospital of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine Japan Tokyo

79 Addenbrooke’s United Kingdom Cambridge

80 Ospedale San Raffaele – Gruppo San Donato Italy Milano

81 Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron Spain Barcelona

82 Landeskrankenhaus – Universitätsklinikum Graz Austria Graz

83 Istituto Clinico Humanitas Italy Rozzano

84 University of Wisconsin Hospitals United States Madison WI

85 The Alfred Australia Melbourne

86 Clinica Universidad de Navarra Spain Pamplona/Iruña

87 The Catholic University Of Korea – Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital South Korea Seoul

88 University of Washington Medical Center United States Seattle WA

89 Seoul National University – Bundang Hospital South Korea Seongnam City

90 Hôpital Paris Saint-Joseph France Paris

91 Universitätsklinikum Köln Germany Köln

92 Azienda Ospedaliera di Padova Italy Padova

93 Erasmus MC The Netherlands Rotterdam

94 Vanderbilt University Medical Center United States Nashville TN

95 Odense Universitetshospital Denmark Odense

96 Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Israel Tel Aviv

97 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center United States Boston MA

98 National University Hospital Singapore Singapore

99 Universitätsklinikum Erlangen Germany Erlangen

100 Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus Dresden 


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