On Your Side: Comparing Care

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, July 9, 2007

Local health care providers are excited about a new website that allows you to compare quality of care at hospitals around the country.

The Hospital Compare website is bringing us to a time where you can actually shop around for hospitals.

But health care professionals say you shouldn't rely solely on it.

Knowing which hospital will be the best for you has always been a challenge for most people.

But that is beginning to change with the unveiling of a new hospital comparison website.

It takes information from participating hospitals like M.C.G., Doctor's, Trinity and Aiken-Regional and puts it on the web. That way you can get an idea of what kind of care you'd get if you were admitted there.

It's an idea that health care professionals like.

"As a patient, I'd love to know what place I can go to where my outcome is the best and where my risk of death would be the lowest." said. Dr. Guy Reed, Chief of Cardiology at M.C.G.

But the system is not without its hiccups.

Hospitals submit their statistics, but if they aren't filled out exactly right, they can get negative marks.

"There's one measure that takes a look at whether you take an Ac-inhibitor or an A.R.B., if there are reasons not to take both, which are often the same reason, if you only list the reason for one, you get dinged." Reed said.

That is one part of the process hospitals are working through.

Either way, professionals say the website is a good tool, but it shouldn't be the only part of your research.

"If it were me and my family, hospital compare might be one website I look at, but it wouldn't be only website I look at." said M.C.G. Vice-President Pat Sodomka.

A few of the kinks in the system are getting worked out now.

There is a limited amount of information on the website now, but it is expected to grow as time goes on.

To try out hospital compare on your own, you can go to http://www.Hospitalcompare.Hhs.Gov/hospital/search/searchcriteria.Asp?Version=default&browser=ie%7c6%7cwinxp&language=english&defaultstatus=0&pagelist=home.

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