Consumers of health care are becoming more informed and for good reasons. Patients have more choices, rights and responsibilities than ever before.
When evaluating the quality of a hospital or health care provider, there are a number of factors to consider.
- Physician experience and expertise
- Nurse experience and expertise
- Personalized care and patient experience
- Number or "volume" of procedures
- Health care value and cost
To ensure the best possible health care, you need to:
You can evaluate a physician's knowledge and expertise through his or her medical training and certifications, or physician quality scores, if available. Another quality indicator is whether he or she is teaching and conducting research. Only the most highly qualified hospitals train medical students and offer residency programs. In addition, hospitals with research studies and access to clinical trials are often on the leading edge of new treatments and procedures.
Nursing knowledge and expertise can be evaluated through education, training, certification and involvement in research. As an integral part of the health care team, nurses foster relationships with patients and families. They also should have broad experience in developing action plans that standardize care based on best practices.
The Magnet Recognition Program® through the American Nurses Credentialing Center recognizes quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice. Magnet Recognition® provides the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care you can expect to receive. Only 6 percent of hospitals in the country have received this prestigious designation.
Personalized Care & Experience
Volume is an important indicator of quality. Research shows the more times a particular procedure is performed, the better the outcome is likely to be.
At the same time, as a patient or family member, you expect personalized attention and care. Communication, friendliness and wait times influence your experience, as well as convenience of locations and the look of the facility.
Patient survey tools compare hospitals of similar sizes. Other viewpoints to consider are the experiences of patients and families shared in their own words.
We know practice makes perfect in health care as in most of life. That's why the number or volume of procedures that a hospital or a physician performs can be a valuable yardstick of clinical quality, especially when considered alongside additional quality measures and other factors. Research suggests that the more a surgical team does the same procedure together and the higher the volume, the better the clinical results.
Value & Cost
Value in health care is about looking at the best possible ways to be efficient, accessible and do what's right for the patient, at the right time, in the right place.
Look at estimated average prices for many common adult procedures to help with making informed health care decisions. Your actual price may vary based on pre-existing health conditions and the actual procedure performed.