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There are many ways to find reviews of medical centers, and it makes sense to look into reviews prior to using a hospital or another facility. Most people, for instance, would read movie reviews before choosing a movie to see at a theater, and obviously finding great health care is far more important. The trouble with such reviews is that not all are equal, and not all define exactly what is being reviewed.
The gold standard way to find reviews of medical centers may be to look at hospital rankings as compiled by companies like US News. Hospitals are ranked in a number of ways, by customer care, by mortality rates for surgeries, and by review of other doctors. Choosing a hospital on the 10 best or 100 best lists may assure a certain degree of care, but individual experience of any of the medical centers listed can still be varied.
Another good source for reviewing medical centers is the Magnet Hospital designation. This is a very specific program that evaluates nursing care at hospitals. Many Magnet Hospitals end up in the top 100 lists of reviews of medical centers. It’s important to remember that nurses often have the most interaction with patients, and happy and well-trained nurses are likely to provide better patient care, and have a lower patient to nurse ratio.
A number of independent websites promise to review medical centers by offering patient reviews of them. These may or may not be very helpful. Sometimes only one or two reviews exist, which certainly aren’t enough to inform people whether a hospital or medical center is of good quality. Even if a person has a bad experience at a hospital, this has to be taken with a grain of salt. That person’s opinion may be totally justified or it may not be. Similarly a favorable review doesn’t guarantee quality.
Additionally, medical centers can be huge and split into numerous departments. A single hospital could have a terrific pediatric department and a lousy gastroenterology department. How well any single review works to classify an entire hospital is really debatable.
People may then turn to word of mouth, and here they’re likely to find a lot of conflicting opinions. It’s best to ask people about the specific departments in a medical center where a person might require care. Those who may be hospitalized also can ask the hospital directly. Do not allow a hospital to evade questions on mortality after specific surgeries. They have this data, and if they’re unwilling to share it, consider another medical center, although some patients may not have much choice as to which hospitals or facilities they use.
It’s often said now that people need to be their own doctors and nurses. In a sense there is truth in that statement. Having a person nearby (relative, friend, spouse) who listens to what care needs to be undertaken and who advocates for the patient is very important. Most medical centers benefit when patients have advocates that are very involved in the process of medical care. In the end, having someone who can be this advocate or filling this role for someone else may be more important than a medical center review. As proven many times, even the best hospitals make mistakes, and a knowledgeable patient advocate who oversees care may be able to prevent some of them.