Being an engaged patient is not always easy, but research shows that proactive, informed patients fare better. Once you've thought about the quality and safety of your hospital, it's time to think about picking the best physician or surgeon, comparing costs of specific procedures, and deciding what kinds of tests and treatments are right for you.
Many organizations are out there working to bring this information to you. Use the following list as a starting point when you're making health care decisions for you and your family.
What do you need help with?
Choosing a Doctor, Hospital or Surgery Center
It's easy to ask your friends and family for provider recommendations, but word of mouth won't tell you the whole story. Find a hospital with top marks for safety and quality, and that has the kind of top-notch facilities and tools you need for your care. If you need a doctor or surgeon, check out how many procedures they've performed and how their patients rate them on courtesy and respect. Most of all, find someone you trust.
Leapfrog Hospital and ASC Survey Results The gold standard program for public reporting of hospital and ASC safety, quality, and resource use.
Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade A consumer-friendly letter grade rating of over 2,600 hospitals on their record of patient safety, created by The Leapfrog Group.
CMS Hospital Compare A federally-run program showcasing hospital performance on quality metrics, including patients' perspectives of care.
Why Not The Best A provider-focused reporting program created by The Commonwealth Fund, now managed by IPRO.
HealthGrades A consumer-focused tool allowing patients to find doctors, dentists, and hospitals.
U.S. News and World Report A national ranking of U.S. hospitals by specific specialties and procedures.
Surgeon Ratings by Consumers' Checkbook A public listing of surgeons with better–than–average outcomes on specific surgical procedures.
Propublica Surgeon Scorecard A public listing of surgeons, including volume and outcomes on specific surgical procedures.
Engaging with my Care
Navigating the health care system isn't exactly easy, but being an engaged patient is important. You have a right to be informed about what procedures are necessary, and which might have unintended consequences or harms. As a key member of the health care team, you need to make your voice heard. And if you've experienced an error (or even a near-miss) in the hospital, you have a story to share.
Choosing Wisely A national campaign providing resources for consumers and physicians to talk about the overuse or misuse of medical tests and procedures.
Doctella A website providing a suite of free digital tools to help you manage and engage with your care.
ShareCare A social platform offering personalized resources, guidance and programs to help you track your health.
Propublica A public interest journalism platform that shares patients' stories of medical harm.
Campaign Zero A nonprofit that creates patient-focused checklists so you can protect yourself during a hospital stay.
MediFind A platform that uses artificial intelligence to help patients make more informed health decisions, including identifying the right doctors and right treatments.
More expensive care is not always better care. And for many people--especially those with high-deductible health plans--comparing costs can help keep their out-of-pocket costs manageable. Although health care pricing is not always available or clear, more transparency can help lower costs and make care more efficient.
Guroo A tool created by the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute to connect patients with information on cost and quality.
Healthcare Blue Book A "Fair Price" tool that allows patients to shop for affordable, high-quality care in their area.
Fair Health A nonprofit that uses billing data to help patients estimate and plan their medical and dental expenses.
Clear Health Costs A website for patients to compare prices on common procedures and doctors visits in New York City, Miami, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Philadelphia, Northern New Jersey, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, and to check Medicare payment rates for thousands of procedures nationwide.
MediBid A health care bidding site designed to connect patients with surgeons and specialists.
Finding a Diagnosis
Digital health is one of the fastest growing fields in the country, and there are lots of resources out there to help you support your physician in finding a diagnosis. Use Google or an app like iTriage to learn more about your symptoms, and check out digital logs where you can record symptoms day by day. Use the following platforms to learn about different diseases, and to decide if you or a family member needs medical attention.
WebMD A full-service platform with condition information, toolkits and guides, and healthy living resources.
Isabel A symptom-checker for patients to narrow down a list of possible conditions.
Mayo Clinic A comprehensive patient care and health information resource about a number of conditions and symptoms.
Documentaries to Watch
Bleed Out, An HBO Film
After a routine operation leaves the mother of filmmaker and comedian Steve Burrows in a coma with permanent brain damage, what starts as a personal video diary becomes a citizen’s investigation into the state of American health care.
Directed by the son of late patient safety pioneer, Dr. John M. Eisenberg, To Err Is Human is an in-depth documentary about this silent epidemic and those working quietly behind the scenes to create a new age of patient safety.