Hospitals 2005: Inova Fairfax Hospital

No area hospital has become more highly regarded in recent years than Inova Fairfax.

By: John Pekkanen

Long considered a very good community hospital, it has emerged as one of the region's leaders and has earned national recognition. It is the flagship hospital for the Virginia-based Inova healthcare system.

Hospital executives and practicing physicians speak admiringly of Inova Fairfax for its wide-ranging clinical strengths, staffing, technological sophistication, and leadership.

When we asked doctors to choose only one hospital where they could have privileges, more named Inova Fairfax than any other. More doctors said Fairfax had the best intensive-care unit, emergency room, and medical equipment. More doctors also chose Fairfax as the hospital they'd want to go to if they were having a stroke or if they or a family member were giving birth. Fairfax came in second to Washington Hospital Center as the hospital doctors would prefer to go to if they were having a heart attack. Last fall, Fairfax opened its new $152 million heart-and-vascular institute.

Fairfax and Georgetown are the only two area hospitals to have earned magnet nursing status from the American Nurses Association, an important designation awarded after a hospital passes a number of tests. Fairfax was the fourth hospital ever to win this status.

Inova Fairfax is also Northern Virginia's only level-one trauma center and--with more than 39,000 surgeries a year--has one of the highest surgical volumes among US hospitals.

In an effort to expand its training programs, Inova Fairfax has tripled the size of its residency program over the past ten years, making it one of the region's major teaching hospitals. It now has residency affiliations with Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, formerly the Medical College of Virginia, as well as GW, Georgetown, Howard, and the University of Virginia. This August, it gained full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, becoming the Northern Virginia campus for VCU's medical school. In this role, the hospital will help teach third- and fourth-year med students.

Inova Fairfax has made clinical research one of its core missions and has active research projects in metabolic disorders, obesity, cancer, and liver disease. It has a cooperative genomics research program on liver disease with molecular biologists at George Mason University through which it hopes to develop new drug therapies.

National raters have a high opinion of Fairfax. In 2005, U.S. News ranked Fairfax 29th among its top 50 hospitals for heart and heart surgery, 30th for hormonal disorders, 35th for cancer, 38th for digestive disorders, 45th for gynecology, and 46th for geriatrics.

Solucient not only ranked Inova Fairfax among its top 100 hospitals for 2003 but made it one of only six US hospitals to receive its top-100 rating for eight years. Over the past five years, no area hospital has received as much national recognition for quality.