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4 Essential Tips for Picking the Best Doctor or Hospital

4 Essential Tips for Picking the Best Doctor or Hospital

Many Americans spend ten times longer searching for a new car than they do researching the right doctor.

Forty-two percent of adults take at least ten hours to choose the optimal automobile, but many people spend less than an hour investigating a potential physician, according to a recent report on hospital care quality by, an online provider of physician and hospital performance information.

It’s a startling contrast, given choosing the wrong health care provider can be more devastating (both physically and financially) than being stuck with a vehicular lemon.

The overall quality of American health care appears to be getting better. But, dramatic differences still exist, even among providers and facilities located in the same area.

After examining the mortality and complication rates of common conditions in thousands of hospitals, researchers concluded that being treated in a high-performing facility may decrease a person’s risk of complication by 42 percent and death by as much as 55 percent.

“This kind of information could mean the difference between a smooth surgery or complications, or even worse, life and death,” says Archelle Georgiou, M.D., a healthcare expert and advisor to Healthgrades, in a press release, “Consumers should do their homework before becoming a patient.”

Choosing the right doctor or hospital

In an emergency, you may not be able to pick which hospital you or a loved one is taken to.

But when it comes to scheduled surgeries and ongoing care, you and your family will be faced with some important decisions.

How can you avoid “choosers remorse” when searching for a reliable care provider?

Here are four questions to ask before picking a doctor or hospital:

  1. Are they accredited or board certified? This is the easiest way to tell whether a hospital or physician has met certain standards of care quality and safety. Hospital accreditation is administered by an independent accreditation body, such as the Joint Commission, and must be renewed on a regular basis. To become board-certified in a particular field (geriatrics, internal medicine, etc.) a physician must undergo additional training and examination in that specialty.
  2. Do they have experience? Different providers have different areas of expertise. Is the doctor of hospital familiar with treating people who have your condition? What is their track record with that particular ailment?
  3. What are other people saying? While the internet can be a good source of reviews and information on health care providers, your first step should be to seek the counsel of your friends and family. Do they have a doctor that they would recommend? Have they been (or do they know someone who was) hospitalized for a similar condition or procedure, with positive results?
  4. Are they easy to talk to? Having a good rapport with a medical professional is critical to receiving quality care. There needs to be a certain degree of “chemistry” between doctor and patient. Make sure that you are comfortable communicating openly and honestly with a physician.

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By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

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10:47PM PDT on May 15, 2014


1:04AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

5:45AM PDT on Sep 6, 2013

Thanks for the article.

3:14PM PDT on Sep 5, 2013

good info

11:29PM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

Thank you for info.

11:27PM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

Thank you for info.

9:52PM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

about 25 years ago, I had the bright idea of _interviewing_ medical professionals as if I were hiring them for a job (which I was). I made a list of what I needed from certain drs, and interviewed them from these questions. It worked for me. I got so into my project, I forgot to be afraid of the Holy Medical Degrees. try it--it works!

3:47PM PDT on Sep 2, 2013


4:14AM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

thank you!

2:30AM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

make sure they understand what you say and turn up on time for your appointment .

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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