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    Health Care Reform:

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    Choosing a Hospital

    Has the hospital had success with my condition?

    (_) Yes (_) No

    Research shows that hospitals that do many of the same types of procedures tend to have better success with them. In other words, "practice makes perfect." Ask your doctor or the hospital if there is information on:

    • How often the procedure is done there.
    • How often the doctor does the procedure.
    • The patient outcomes (how well the patients do).

    Also, some health departments and others publish reports on "outcomes studies" about certain procedures. These studies show, for example, how well patients do after having heart bypass surgery. Such studies can help you compare which hospitals and surgeons have had the most success with a procedure.

    How well does the hospital check and improve on its own quality of care?

    More and more hospitals are trying to improve the quality of their care. One way is to keep track of patient outcomes for certain procedures. Another way is to keep track of patient injuries and infections that occur in the hospital. By finding out what works and what doesn't, the hospital can improve the way it treats patients.

    Ask the hospital quality management (or assurance) department how it monitors and improves the hospital's quality of care. Also, ask for any patient satisfaction surveys the hospital has done. These will tell you how other patients have rated the quality of their care.

    Sources of Additional Information

    A Patient's Bill of Rights
    Available from the American Hospital Association. Free.

    Telephone: (312) 422-3000
    Web site:
    (Click on Resource Center; go to Search at bottom of page; type in Patient's Bill of Rights.)
    Also available from Fax on Demand, at (312) 422-2020; document number 471124.

    All Hospitals Are Not Created Equal

    Information and questions to ask to help you choose the hospital that best suits your needs. Part of a series published by Health Pages' online magazine.

    Web site:

    Choosing a Hospital and Hospital Quality Checklist

    Online Web site offered by the Pacific Business Group on Health.

    Web site:

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