Someday soon you may be paying more of the bills for your healthcare. In theory, this will motivate you to be more selective about the doctors and hospitals that you use, and to put more effort into comparing healthcare costs. However, for that to happen, you will need good information to work with.
If the government, doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies get their way, you may soon be paying a higher percentage of the costs of your healthcare. The theory is that this increased financial responsibility will motivate you to be choosier about the selection of your health care providers, and to put more effort into a comparison of healthcare costs. To help you get started with this research, following is a list of websites that provide essential information about doctors and hospitals:
- www.abms.org – This site, the American Board of Medical Specialties, keeps lists of board certified doctors, which indicates whether a certain doctor has passed written and oral exams in his or her specialty, and has met the education requirement to be classified as board certified.
- www.vitals.com – This site will show you how many times a given doctor has performed certain procedures over the course of a year.
- www.healthgrades.com – This site allows you to research cost information for doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. The site also provides comprehensive hospital reports, which include, among other things, information on patient safety.
- www.healthgrades.com – If you have trouble obtaining cost estimates from doctors, hospitals, or health insurance companies, this site offers a medical-cost report for $8.
- www.revolutionhealth.com – This site is the hospital counterpart to www.vitals.com, in that it provides information on the number of times a hospital has performed a given procedure. Like doctors, there is no substitute for experience.
- www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov – This site, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, contains information regarding the frequency with which they follow certain practices that are most likely to bring positive outcomes for most common procedures.
- www.leapfroggroup.org/cp – This site will allow you to check to see whether a given hospital maintains proper staffing and equipment.
You should keep in mind the fact that the particular doctor or hospital for which you desire information may or may not be included in any or all of the above-listed websites. In those cases, familiarity with the questions you need to ask and the information you need to obtain will at least make the doctor/hospital research process a little easier.