PROVO -- U.S. News and World Report recently recognized Utah Valley Regional Medical Center as a high-performing hospital in six specialties.

This was a first, said pulmonologist Dr. Tracy Hill, because the magazine usually focuses only on large research hospitals. It opened up the criteria, and Utah hospitals jumped on the list: UVRMC was recognized in gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology.

For the hospital, this is long-due recognition of the organization's efforts. For the public, he said, it's a telling statement that for just about any medical need, people in Utah County can stay in Utah County.

"What it's really saying is not everybody in the world has to go to Mayo," Hill said.

It was the only hospital in the county to receive the recognition; the University of Utah and Primary Children's Medical Center both received national recognition, and a number of other hospitals in the state were rated as high-performing, although only Intermountain Medical Center in Murray had more high-performing specialties.

"We're excited to be recognized," said Lisa Paletta, the nurse administrator for the hospital.

In addition to those specialties, the hospital was highly ranked on issues like patient satisfaction and patient safety. More than two-thirds of their patients rated the hospital highest or very high, which was more than the national or state average, while 6 percent rated it low. Almost 80 percent would recommend the hospital to others, while only 3 percent would not, according to U.S. News.

One factor in that, Paletta believes, is that nurses check on patients every hour instead of the industry standard of every two hours. If patients are hungry or thirsty, need medications or to use the restroom or simply have questions, they don't have to wait as long for a nurse to come.

In one recent case, she said, a nurse doing these rounds realized that a man was having a stroke and was able to get help more quickly.

"I'm sure that's part of the reason why we're a recipient of this, is just our safety record, how we keep patients safe," she said.

The hospital team, including physicians, nurses, dietitians and housekeepers, all know of the hospital's focus on patient safety and work toward that goal, Paletta said.