Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How to choose a Hospital that’s best for you

Visiting a hospital can be extremely tiring, often expensive and at times uncalled for. While a regular patient will plan his/her hospital visits, it can at times come as a surprise to others! It’s therefore recommended that before you visit a hospital there are certain things you should know about so that you are not fooled or find yourself in a difficult situation. So let’s be guided as to how to choose a hospital.

Understanding patient experience

Let’s face it – not all hospitals and clinics offer the same treatment or services. There have been several instances when established hospitals, doctors and nurses have failed to pass the patient care test. Offering treatment is not the same as rendering service. Though it is definitely not recommended to be too selective and investigate during a medical emergency, but in case of planned visits, keep patient experience in mind while selecting a hospital. There are several surveys conducted that offer information on patient care and other significant information such as – hygiene and cleanliness of rooms, outcome of stay, safety score, experience level and communication with staff, approach to pain control etc. We recommend a proper search for narrowing down your options.

Ensure that the hospital meets national quality standards

The idea behind choosing a hospital that meets quality standards is to ensure that as a patient, you are not in a crisis situation at a later stage. Several hospitals, in order to maintain their quality, reputation and patient confidence participate in national surveys (such as conducted by JCAHO) so as to understand where they stand when compared to national standards, which areas need improvement, quality of present staff, equipments and the success rate of treatments, and most importantly, the accreditation status. It is possible that these rating are unable to answer specific patient queries, but considering that the ratings are determined based on regulatory compliances, government norms, consumer groups and patient survey results, it will help in understanding the hospital’s pros and cons.

Verify if the hospital is covered by your insurance/health plan 

Hospital bills, often staggering are probably one of the most unwelcomed things a patient can receive on being discharged. So why not shift the burden to someone else? Your insurance plan – that’s it. It is true that your first concern should still be the quality of treatment rendered, safety measures, expertise, reputation and success rate, but you must also understand if the particular hospital is covered in your plan’s network and to what extent it will cover your treatment (including in-network and out-of-network costs).

Look for hospitals with a reputation for quality care

Quality care in hospitals is a repeated practice – a habit nurtured in certain hospitals. It also plays a role in healing patients and their recovery. Always check whether the hospital you are choosing have systematic programs in place to check the quality of patient care. This may include surveys for recording patient response, what are the rates for readmission, what insurance plans are accepted and other such questions. In terms of quality care, don’t forget to make a note of other facilities offered, such as convenient visiting hours, what kind of care can be arranged after leaving the hospital, what specialties and specialists are available. It is also recommended to for hospitals that uses electronic health records and modern technology, so that data about patients – their medical history, family illnesses, medication, allergies etc. – and other such data is easily accessible for rendering better care. It also helps to get additional data like physician and nurses notes, lab reports, etc.

Yes, we understand that choosing the right hospital for your treatment is not easy. But when your health is in question, make sure that you make informed decisions!

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