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How to choose a hospital

Consumer Reports News: July 10, 2012 10:38 AM

Our updated hospital Ratings can help you choose a hospital in your area. And even if you don't have a choice in hospitals, our Ratings can help you identify and be prepared for potential problems at the hospital you do go to.

We now have Ratings for nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide, including 1,159 with our new safety score. The score is a summary of several key categories related to hospital safety: avoiding infections, avoiding readmissions, communicating about new medications and discharge, appropriate use of chest and abdominal CT scanning, avoiding serious complications, and avoiding mortality. To get a safety score, a hospital must have data for each of those categories. Read our new report How Safe Is Your Hospital?

We also rate more than 3,000 other hospitals that don't have enough data for a safety score but do have some important information that is publicly available. That can include information on patient experience, from a government survey of millions of patients, that tells you whether patients would recommend the hospital, their overall assessment of it, and their experience with topics such as pain control and how often their rooms were kept clean and quiet. We also now rate hospitals on their use of electronic health records, based on data from the American Hospital Association, that reflects the extent to which a hospital uses a computerized system to document notes from doctors and nurses, view lab reports, and other purposes. Read more about how we rate hospitals.

Since hospitals are complex places, and the more you know about them the better, we also recommend that you consider other sources of information. That includes:

See our full hospital Ratings (available to subscribers). And watch our video on how to choose a hospital.

Joel Keehn

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