Quality can be measured in many different ways. While there is no universal agreement on which method should be used, the following are often cited as the best indicators to determine whether or not you receive quality care for your medical condition.
When researching medical care, it's important to know how much experience your doctor or hospital has with a procedure or test. A "general" hospital handles a wide range of routine conditions, such as hernias and pneumonia. "Specialty" hospitals have a lot of experience with certain conditions, such as cancer and heart treatment, or certain groups, such as children. You also may want to find out if the hospital has a special team of health professionals that works with people with your condition or treatment.
Consider whether or not the hospital:
- Is accredited by the Joint Commission.
- Is rated highly by State or consumer or other groups.
- Has experience with your condition.
- Has had success with your condition
- Is one where your doctor has privileges, if that is important to you.
- Is covered by your health plan.
- Reviews and continuously improves its own quality of care.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
For more information, read "Your Guide to Choosing Quality Health Care" by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Link here for this guide. This guide was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), in cooperation with other agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other public- and private-sector health organizations. AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with sponsoring and conducting research on the quality and outcomes of health care services, as well as the cost, use, and access to those services. For more information on AHRQ-sponsored research and products, call 1-800-358-9295, or visit AHRQ's Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/. For information on resources available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, visit the Department's gateway Web site, http://www.healthfinder.gov/.