What Does a Patient Need to Know When Going to the Hospital?

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Hospitals these days are rated by a lot of different rating systems. The problem is that you can see different results from different raters, because they use different methodologies, US news is one, an organization called the Leap Frog Group is another, Consumer Reports is another.

I'd probably look at all three of those to see if there's some consensus of whether or not it's a safe hospital. I'd want to know whether they have a good computer system. Today, I think a safe hospital today has to have computerized prescribing, has to have bar coding. I'd want to be sure that the doctors are board certified, certainly the doctors that I'm going to see, but I'd like a policy in the hospital that all the doctors are board certified to the degree that you can once you're there, I think you use some clues, you want to see whether the people seem to be communicating with each other, whether the doctors and nurses seem to like like each other.

The same way you sometimes walk into a restaurant and you see that people seem like they're unhappy and they're being nasty with each other, that's a clue. If you see a dirty lobby or garbage on the floor, I don't see how you don't extrapolate that as is the operating room dirty as well? Those are the kind of clues that I would go for.

I would also ask if you have a trusted primary care doctor, a specialist who you see. I would ask them what hospitals they recommend and why, and I think many doctors have a sense of this is a good hospital, this is not a good hospital, and you want to make your choice partly based on what they say.