a Quality Hospital
Institute of Medicine estimates that 98,000 deaths per year are
the results of medical mistakes. Thus, selecting the best hospital
program is critical. While researching various hospitals, it is
important to ask the right questions.
Research a hospital’s history and status. Request information
from the hospital itself—its procedure/surgery results and how
they are measured; mortality and complication rates; number of
nurses on staff; treatment options; financial options; referral
networks—as well as do research on the internet.
Ask a recommendation. Talk to your primary care physician
about what hospital he or she would choose and why. Also, request
recommendations from friends, family or colleagues.
Utilize national accreditation agencies. The Joint Commission
on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is the national
authority for surveying hospitals. It decides a hospital’s accreditation
status based on whether it meets certain health and safety requirements.
There are seven different levels of accreditation. If the hospital
you are considering is not accredited, it is important to know
Observe a hospital, and trust your own impressions. Visit
the hospital you are considering, look around and ask patients
and staff how they feel about it. Is the facility clean? Do waiting
rooms and patient care rooms look comfortable and well maintained?
Is the staff courteous and helpful? Find out how patient complaints
are handled by the hospital.
Ask about treatment options. There may be more than one way
to treat your medical condition. If your physician can diagnose
and treat your condition in several ways, the hospital should
be equipped for all these possible treatment options. Ask your
physician to list the full range of options for diagnosing and
treating your condition and compare these to the options offered
by the hospital under consideration.
Ask about hospital charges. Financial issues can be very confusing.
Review them carefully with your benefits manager, review your
policy and speak with someone in the hospital business office
to make sure you have your facts straight.
Looking into nursing staff. Staff-to-patient ratio affects care.
The number of nurses on staff in a hospital, in relation to
number of patients or other hospital staff, is often a measure
of quality that directly affects patient care. One nurse can typically
care for three to six patients, except in intensive care units
where the ratio is more likely to be one nurse for every one or
Check the hospital’s physician and health plan affiliation. Determine
if your physician and/or health plan are affiliated with the hospital.
Physicians typically are affiliated with several hospitals, meaning
they have met those hospitals’ requirements and are allowed to
treat patients in those facilities.
provided by healthgrades.com, an online medical evaluation site.
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