How to choose a hospital?
The decision is important because studies show that hospitals that have experience treating certain disorders usually provide higher quality of care.
Where to begin?
The US Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research has prepared an helpful guide to help patients choose health plans, doctors, treatments, hospitals and long-term care services.
The booklet “Your Guide to Choosing Quality Health Care” provides checklists and worksheets to help you through your decision-making process.
In its section “Quick Checks for Quality”, for example, the booklet recommends you:
Look for a hospital that:
Is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Is rated highly by State or consumer or other groups.
Is one where your doctor has privileges, if that is important to you.
Is covered by your health plan.
Has experience with your condition.
Has had success with your condition.
Checks and works to improve its own quality of care.
The booklet also provides guidelines on how you can improve your communication with your doctor, keep track of your medical history, decide about elective (non-emergency) surgery, and find reliable information on the Internet.
Joint Commission is an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits hospitals
Another source of information about hospitals is the Joint Commission, an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies hospitals and other health programs.
You can check whether a hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and how it measures up on a number of quality standards by using a the Joint Commissions “Quality Check” search engine.
On its website, the Joint Commission also offers a one-page guide to choosing a hospital, which is worth downloading and reading, but the Agency of Healthcare Quality and Research’s booklet provides much more information and guidance.
LocalHealthGuide/Seattle does not recommend particular hospitals but to see a quick profile of area hospitals click on the tabs below the Hospital tab.
The profiles gives you the location of the hospital, some quick facts about its size, some highlights of the services it offers and links to its website. The hospitals are listed alphabetically.
For more information:
- Read the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research booklet “Your Guide to Choosing Quality Heath Care” and its “Quick Checks for Quality“.
- Visit the Joint Commission’s website, read its page on “Selecting a health provider” and use its “Quality Check” search engine to learn about local hospitals by searching by name, city or zip code.
- And click on the hospital links on the right for the hospital profiles and links to the local hospital websites