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How to Choose a Hospital

If you need surgery, are having a baby or need any other kind of care in a hospital setting, your physician is a tremendous resource. He or she can make recommendations based on first-hand experience.

Other criteria may influence your hospital choice:

  • Is the hospital close to your home or work? This is especially important if you are expecting a baby or anticipate multiple trips for services such as cancer care. Having care conveniently located can save valuable time and energy. In an emergency when minutes count, it can even save your life.
  • Have family, friends and/or co-workers had good experiences in the past?
  • Does the hospital have favorable satisfaction ratings? This is a good predictor of your experience.
  • What percentage of surgery patients require a repeated procedure because of infection or other complication?
  • How does the hospital's infection rates compare to other hospitals in the state and/or region? The Washington State Department of Health posts data online to help you compare and research infection rates. Read more about the Healthcare Associated Infections Program.
  • There is a Federal government website, Hospital Compare, which offers comparative information about hospitals for specific quality benchmarks. Also, the Joint Commission publishes reports for consumers.
  • Leapfrog is a consumer site that shows what steps hospitals are taking to reduce preventable medical mistakes.