Compare Hospitals Near You!

So you need hospital care, but having not been in a local hospital, have no idea how to tell which are the good ones. Well - among its other valuable services, Medicare has compiled a huge database of hospitals throughout the country. All you do is enter your zip code and click whether this is a general inquiry or if you want to search a specific medical condition or surgical procedure.

Here's the link (will open in a new tab/window): Medicare Hospital Compare Quality of Care

The search engine is amazingly detailed. You can search for hospitals within radii of 10 mi, 15 mi, 25 mi....you get the picture. You may stipulate that you want the details on up to three hospitals. So, a typical procedure is to search for hospitals in, say, a 25 mi. radius, and, assuming you get more hits than three, you simply check a box adjacent to the hospital(s) of interest.

The results include maps to all three hospitals, and a numerical compilation of the patients' answers to the myriad of questions.

There's even a link so you can download the entire hospital database used in this study! (Better have a big storage medium....)

And That's Not All!

With the Quality Care Finder (their description reads: "Find & compare doctors, plans, hospitals, suppliers, & other providers), you can look into many other entities than hospitals which could impact the comfort or even the success of your hospital stay. The following are the titles (linked) for the various searches available at no cost:

The Medicare Site

If you use Medicare, you've got lots of company! In 2010, total enrollment in the U.S. was 47,672,971. However, their web use statistics indicate that people would rather call one of their agents than find the answer on the web. This is too bad, because the answers are all in the site. Also, once someone finds an answer for the first time, they feel empowered to repeat the experience. Go there now.

If you're a Medicare enrollee and do not use the Medicare.gov web site, please start! Full-time phone answerers are much more expensive than folks' finding their own data! It's also FAR easier than you're probably thinking.

I'd like to note here that this site is truly huge, with many interlinked pages and God knows how many hierarchical layers that form the architectural foundation of the site. Nevertheless, this is of of the most navigable, intuitively-driven sites I've ever had the pleasure of perusing, and Medicare.com should be congratulated on having a crack team of web developers, allowing the most náive users to find what they want with minimal effort. - Howard