What is a Hospital? Why Would I Need a Hospital?

A hospital is a health care facility that provides patients with treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals are set up to deal with many kinds of disease and injury. Hospitals typically have an emergency department (ER) to deal with immediate and urgent threats to health.

Some patients go to the hospital for diagnosis, treament, or therapy and then leave without staying overnight. This is referred to as "outpatient" care. Other patients are admitted and stay overnight (or an extended period of time) for care. This is referred to as "inpatient" care.

How to select the best hospital

Choosing a hospital is a decision that can affect your health and the rest of your life. Unfortunately, most people don’t even consider their options and simply use whichever hospital is closest. This is probably because with thousands hospitals nationwide, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. The key is to research your choices so you find a hospital that fits your needs and provides quality care. Below is a list of factors to consider when selecting a hospital:

1. Specialty services: Where to seek care depends on what you need. Most hospitals are equipped to handle most conditions, and in an emergency you should always head to your nearest hospital emergency room. However, many hospitals exist which specialize in certain treatment areas. Some examples are listed below.
A. Children’s hospitals
B. Long term acute care hospitals provide intense treatment and care for patients who will need on average at least 25 days of stay in a hospital
C. Psychiatric hospitals
D. Rehabilitation hospitals specialize in recovery after surgery, accidents or severe conditions like stroke.
E. Cancer care
F. Birthing center
G. Cardiovascular care

2. Location In an emergency, the closest hospital is always the best, if not the only, option. In other situations, such as elective surgeries or childbirth, location may not be as important as the quality of care the hospital provides or their track record for treating patients with dignity and respect.

3. Insurance: Verify the hospital takes your insurance.

4. Physician affiliations: Verify your physician or specialist is affiliated with the hospital.

5. Quality: Quality is often overlooked but extremely important. You can find quality information on WhereToFindCare.com to help you determine which hospitals give quality care. Below is a brief overview of quality data available on our website.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors the quality of health care by requiring hospitals to report information on several measures. WhereToFindCare.com simplifies data from CMS into one score called the Medicare quality score. The Medicare quality score is the percentage of measures that meet or exceed the national average. There are some instances when CMS feels a hospital did not have enough patients to make a judgment on its quality. In these cases, government quality scores are not displayed.

In addition, WhereToFindCare.com has it's own quality score. It is the percentage of people who rated their hospital on WhereToFindCare.com and said they received quality care.

You'll find both quality scores (when available) on the hospital's profile page under the quality scores section. For the Medicare quality score, we also list the details of each measure collected.

6. Recommendations: Word of mouth recommendations can tell us whether we can get along with providers on a personal level. Ask friends, family, and other associates if they have had experiences with the hospitals on your list.

7. Reviews: Research online reviews-they are a valuable resource. They can give you a better picture of whether patients received quality care at the hospital.

8. Amenities: Once you’ve narrowed down your list, you should consider all the other things each hospital has to offer. How is the parking? What amenities are offered? Pick a hospital when you'll feel as comfortable as possible.

How can WhereToFindCare.com help you find the best hospital?

Use the hospital search tool below to locate hospitals in your area. With the report generated, you can view quality information, reviews and ratings, exceptional healthcare workers at hospitals(we call them Care Stars), photos, amenities, services provided, insurance accepted, contact information, driving directions, and much more.

Find, compare & rate hospitals

Hospitals are also know as medical centers & emergency medical care centers.

Have you had experiences with any hospitals in your area?

Share your experiences with other users by rating the hospitals on WhereToFindCare.com. Your feedback is invaluable to others in your community searching for a hospital.