How can a patient evaluate the quality of a hospital?
Although accreditation proves the quality of healthcare delivered to patients by the doctors of a hospital, patients can evaluate the quality of a hospital themselves. Even if any healthcare facility that you are planning to visit for your treatment has not been accredited by a renowned organization, there are certain criteria that can help a patient evaluate whether they demonstrate a high level of quality or not. Here we look at 10 such factors:
- Affiliation with an international organization, such as Johns Hopkins or Harvard Medical School
- The level of communication efforts the hospital invests for its patients.
- The healthcare provider’s commitment to continuous improvement and culture of sharing
- How much they ask you to participate with their medical team to share feedback. Furthermore, how much they respect your opinions and take them seriously
- The level of personalized and individualized care offered
- The track record of infection control within the healthcare facility
- Outcomes and success rates of the treatments offered by the healthcare professionals in the facility
- The presence of a comprehensive system that deals with complaints and suggestions from the patients in an appropriate way
- A safe and secure location for the facility
- Encouragement of a healing atmosphere with the use of natural light and greenery
Safety and Security
Once patients enter the gate of a healthcare facility, they feel vulnerable, as their lives are in the hands of the healthcare professionals. Therefore, the only concern they should have in a hospital is how they are going to recover from their illness, without having to worry about their personal safety. The safety and security of all patients is the responsibility of the management of the facility, and they have to make sure that they implement proper protocols to ensure the protection and security of the patients. Although patients do not have to worry about their own safety in a healthcare facility, executives on duty should educate patients about the process of judging the level of security in the facility. As a patient, one of the first things you should do is to understand the entire facility management system of the hospital. The facility management system involves a number of factors, some of which are listed below:
The hospital building
While inspecting the hospital building you should evaluate and rate the building on the following factors:
- Look for the presence of facilities for handicapped individuals, or for patients who are currently undergoing treatment and require additional assistance in physical activities.
- The level of hygiene that is maintained throughout the entire hospital premises.
- Check if the hospital has a good security system, which should include guards on duty and an electronic alarm and surveillance system. The presence of a good security system will ensure that the patients in the facility remain in a secure environment.
You should ensure that the healthcare facility gives a unique patient identification card or number to all their patients. The importance of unique patient identification cannot be underestimated, as any error in identifying the patient and his or her requirements could prove to be life threatening.
Communication between the doctor, staff members, and the patient plays an extremely important role in all steps of the treatment procedure. You must ensure that the hospital authorities provide you with information that is in a language you can clearly understand, failing which they should provide you with translator services.
In addition, there needs to be a healthy two-way communication between the patient and the doctor. While the doctor will instruct you on certain guidelines, it is your responsibility and the responsibility of your companion to make sure that you adhere to all these guidelines for the betterment of your health. Furthermore, you should ensure that all papers concerning the course of your treatment, billing and other consent letters are put down in writing and signed.
Precautionary measures against infections
You must make sure that the healthcare facility meets international standards for precautionary measures against infectious diseases. Global organizations such as the World Health Organization and the CDC have clear-cut specifications regarding the hygiene and spread of infections in hospital premises. Patients should not go for hospitals that fail to meet the globally recognized standards.
Life safety systems
Natural disasters can strike at any place and at any time. Although nobody can prevent such disasters from occurring, nor can anybody forecast these disasters, you should choose a hospital or healthcare facility that is well equipped to handle both natural and manmade disasters. Some of the safety measures that you should look for in a hospital are adequate fire safety measures, protection against lightning, and other natural disasters.
Security tips a patient must take note of
- When you enter the premises of the healthcare facility, you should always remember that you are solely responsible for your personal items. It is advisable that you either avoid carrying expensive items, which you will not need during hospitalization, or give them to your companion or family members for safekeeping.
- You should always be ready to cooperate with the doctors and the nursing staff.
- Always ensure that you do not roam around in the hospital at night, as it might be dangerous, especially if you are under medication that causes drowsiness.
Security responsibilities that the hospital authorities must maintain
- The hospital must be under protection of security guards and each room well connected with a centralized emergency alert system.
- The hospital should be a completely no smoking zone.
- Although many hospitals attach telemetry transmitters to patients so that the hospital staff can easily track them, you should always remember that it is your responsibility to stay within the confines of the hospital.
- All reputed hospitals in renowned medical tourism destinations should regularly practice mock drills for handling disasters. Fire safety should also be given prime importance by the hospital staff.
- Both the patient and the hospital staff should ensure that you get only those drugs that are prescribed by the physician. Also check that nursing staff administers the correct doses at the right time and the drugs are procured from reliable sources.