Choosing the right hospital

Think about the last time you purchased a car or a major appliance. Did you do your homework? Did you compare features, warranties, costs? 

Now think about the last time you or a family member went to the hospital. You probably didn't even know you might have a choice. And it's unlikely that you compared services or quality, because few resources exist to help you choose the best care. 

Leapfrog is changing that. By publicly reporting critical safety and quality information, we can help you find the best care for you and your family. And by making transparency the norm in health care, we're helping hospitals achieve the best care possible for their patients. 

 

Aren't all hospitals the same?

Up to 440,000 people die every year due to preventable medical errors. 

In short, no. In some hospitals, patient safety and high-quality are top priorities. Strong health care teams reduce infection rates, put checks in place to prevent mistakes, and ensure strong lines of communication between hospital staff, patients, and families. But some hospitals trail behind. In fact, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in this country, surpassing the number of deaths caused by car accidents, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. 

That means that it's critically important that you choose a hospital with a good track record on keeping its patients safe from harm. The Hospital Safety Score grades hospitals on the very basics of medical care, such as handwashing, entering prescriptions through a computer, and the availability of nurses. So no matter the reason for a hospital visit, patient safety should be your number one priority. Jump over to the Hospital Safety Score to see how your community's hospitals score on safety. 

 

What else is important to know?

Safety isn't the whole picture. Leapfrog works with over 50 leading medical experts to identify safety, quality, and resource use measures that have a demonstrated impact on patient care. We then ask hospitals to report on those measures and showcase exactly what they're doing to improve. 

  • If you or a family member needs surgery, see how your hospital compares on mortality rates of certain high-risk procedures.
  • If you are pregnant, find out how your hospital does on maternity care metrics like C-sections and managing high-risk deliveries. 
  • If you're concerned about a seriously-ill parent or family member, look at ICU staffing protocols and how the hospital prevents injuries and dangerous infections.
Ready to compare hospitals?

Make an informed decision for your care.

 

What if my hospital does poorly, or doesn't report at all?

If you’re unhappy with your hospital's performance, don’t be afraid to talk to hospital leadership. You can ask them what may have contributed to their rating and what they are doing to improve. You can also utilize the location tools on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey and the Hospital Safety Score to find hospitals nearby that provide better care. You have the right to choose the best hospital for you and your family.

Nearly half of hospitals nationwide reported to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. But there are still too many hospitals unwilling to provide patients and purchasers the information they need to make better health care decisions. If your local hospital does not report to the voluntary Leapfrog Hospital Survey, ask them why not.

Never refuse care in an emergency because of the hospital’s grade on the Hospital Safety Score or performance on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, but use the information as a guide for planned events and a research tool for potential emergencies.

 

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