The quality of the health care that you receive can have a major impact on your health and well-being; it is surprising, then, to discover that many people don’t know the first thing about determining the quality of the health care that they receive from their medical facilitators. All too often, patients rely solely on referrals from their HMOs or choose a facility at random. The fact of the matter is that doing your research before settling on any given medical facilitator is imperative. There are several ways to do this, including reading quality reports, looking at consumer ratings and checking for accreditation information.

Checking For Accreditation Information

When a private, unbiased and independent group gives a medical facility or provider its seal of approval, it is called accreditation. In order to receive accreditation from such independent groups, a hospital, nursing home or other medical facility must meet many strict national guidelines and standards. Accreditation is also an ongoing process, meaning that facilities are reviewed periodically to ensure that they are still up to par with current standards. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) are two of the best-known accreditation bodies in the healthcare industry.

Reading Quality Reports

There are several quality reports, or report cards, published regarding medical facilities and providers each year. Such reports judge and rate the quality of care provided by medical facilitators, allowing patients to get a better feel for which facility is right for them. Government-sponsored report cards are among the most well-respected; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for instance, publishes a report that compares hospitals around the USA. Another topnotch quality report is one concerning nursing homes that is published by the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Looking At Consumer Ratings

While reports and accreditation are valuable tools, getting a feel for the human side of healthcare is also important. To learn how fellow patients have ranked various medical facilities in an area, people can check online for consumer ratings. Such ratings can cover a myriad of different topics and subjects, and often include basic customer service ratings in order to give patients an idea about the level of service at individual facilities. When combined with quality reports and accreditation information, consumer ratings can help patients form an overarching idea about the quality of hospitals, clinics and individual medical facilitators in their area.

Being Proactive About Healthcare

In order to receive the best service possible from their healthcare providers, patients must do their research. Simply assuming that any given medical facilitator will provide exceptional service is foolhardy at best, and dangerous at worst. Being proactive about the quality of the care that is received is the responsibility of every single patient. By holding medical facilitators accountable for the level of care that they provide, the quality of healthcare services as a whole will improve. Doing this research takes very little time and can make a huge difference.