Patient Guidelines to Choose the Best Hospitals

15 June 2015 |

It can be frightening to go into the hospital for surgery or a procedure. Even if it’s a simple one, there’s always that small amount worry that something might go wrong.

Researching Hospitals to Choose the Best One
Many people calm their fears by researching hospitals before choosing one. This can help them feel more comfortable with doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff.

• Hospital Ratings:  If you’re trying to choose the best hospital for you, there are a few factors you should consider as you’re doing your research.
• Patient Experience
• Patient Outcomes
• Hospital Practices
• Safety Score
• Avoidance of Adverse Events

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Consumer Reports provides ratings for hospitals that include all of these factors when coming up with their score. Choosing hospitals that have high ratings means that they have done well in all of these areas, which should make patients feel better about receiving care from them.

Besides Consumer Report’s hospital ratings, there are some other resources for information on hospitals in your area.
Government Surveys
The government conducts surveys based on patient experiences at hospitals. You can read the results of these surveys on the Medicare.gov website.
Medicare.gov also has a guide that will help you find hospitals in your area that have all of the qualities you want. It can help you with your insurance needs as well.

Comparison Tools
Why Not The Best website has a function that will compare hospitals. You can select and compare hospitals in certain regions and health systems. You can even research the advantages and disadvantages of using different size hospitals and types.
Insurance is a big part of the decision when it comes to choosing a hospital. Out-of-pocket costs for hospital care (inpatient or outpatient) can be incredibly expensive. Insurance can cut down the cost significantly. This sometimes means that you will be limited to the number of hospitals you’ll be able to go to.

The best process is to make a list of all the possible hospitals you can go to, and then research those to choose the best one. If you find one that is out of the network, call your insurance company to find out what the costs would be if you did decide to go with that particular one. Depending on your policy, it may not be as expensive as it would be if you didn’t have insurance.

Recommendations
Recommendations from doctors is another way that people choose a hospital. Usually, the referral goes to a surgeon at a particular hospital. Most patients find this to be a satisfactory way to find a hospital, especially if they believe their doctor is good and they trust him/her.

Interviewing the Hospital’s Staff
While ratings, recommendations, and other forms of research may be a good way to find the best hospital for your medical care needs, there’s another way that may be better than all of them – having a conversation with the staff.
Dr. David Lansky, CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health, says, “There’s no reason to be embarrassed to say, ‘How many of these procedures did you do last year? What was the success rate?’” These questions may seem as though you’re interrogating the doctor, but if he/she isn’t confident enough to answer them then you may not want him/her to take care of you.

The Checklist for Finding the Best Hospital
You should be able to check each one of these conditions when you’re considering a hospital:
• It’s accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
• It has high ratings.
• Your doctor has privileges there.
• Your health insurance policy covers care there.
• The hospital has experience and success with your condition.
• They work on the quality of their care continuously.
• They’ve answered all of your questions.

The Reality of Choosing the Best Hospital
Just know that when you’re doing research and doing everything you can to choose the best hospital possible, you may not have the same great experiences as you’re reading about from patients. Every person is different, especially when it comes to health care.

Many times, people will select a few hospitals that they find to be good for them, and then try them out for a month or two. From their own personal experience, they are able to decide if the hospital is right for them.
There’s a certain feeling you’ll get when you’re in a hospital. If you feel apprehensive, uncared for, or rushed when you go in for testing, check-ups, or other quick appointments, it’s probably not the best place for major procedures and surgeries. That’s when people usually move on to another choice.

Choosing a hospital can include a bit of trial and error, but it’s worth it when you find one that can meet your needs now and into the future. It may not be so frightening to get the health care you need after all.

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