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How To: Choose a hospital

November 13, 2009

When it comes to your good health, it's important that you make the right decision when choosing a hospital.

You shouldn't wait until you are sick to find a good hospital. Choosing the right hospital, especially if you have a difficult condition or need specialized treatment, is important.

Here are some tips to consider....

Choose an accredited hospital: The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) decides whether a hospital receives, keeps or loses accreditation, based on certain health and safety standards. Although accreditation is voluntary, most hospitals participate in the process. If the hospital you're considering isn't accredited, it's important to know why.

Choose a hospital with a good record of quality care: When it comes to hospital quality, government organizations and consumer groups issue hospital "report cards" that you can look at when making your decision. A recent study shows that, in addition to helping you make a wise choice, these evaluations encourage hospitals to improve the quality of the care they provide. The "grades" given to hospitals can be found online at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.

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Choose a hospital that keeps pace with medical technology: Quality doctors, combined with state-of-theart medical equipment, are a recipe for success when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Choose a hospital that is continually investing in new technology so that the physicians and staff have the best possible tools.

Choose a hospital that asks for and uses feedback from patients: One measure of a hospital's dedication to providing quality care is how the hospital collects and uses patient feedback. Hospitals with reputations for high patient satisfaction are listening to what their patients have to say.

Choose a hospital that your doctor recommends: Who better to recommend a hospital than your doctor or other healthcare professionals in your community? Ask them questions to see what hospital they would choose and why.

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