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Choosing a Good Hospital

Consumer Reports—August 4, 2009

Good doctors aren’t the only things that make a patient’s stay at a hospital a pleasant and productive one - they are only one component of many that were analyzed by Consumer Reports in their patient satisfaction study. Researchers used information gathered in federal surveys of patients to complete the results, in which Hospital for Special Surgery ranked as the best hospital in New York City.

A successful procedure starts with good communication. It’s important for the doctor to explain what will happen during the stay - tests, medications, and what is being done for the patient to recover and improve. Consumer Reports rated both doctor and nurse communication as part of their analysis.

Another important consideration is how well a hospital manages pain, a vital consideration for patients undergoing surgical procedures that require rehabilitation and recovery. HSS has a “pain management team” that is dedicated to serving the pain management needs of every patient. In the video feature on the Consumer Reports web site, Acute Pain Service Director Barbara Wukovits, RN, BSN, can be seen discussing a plan for pain management with a patient.

“If a patient is in pain, they are really not going to be effectively rehabilitating,” said Edwin P. Su, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in the Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Division at HSS.

Whether for pain management or otherwise, medication that is being administered to a patient should be thoroughly explained by the doctor during a hospital stay.

“You should know the purpose of that medicine so that you understand why you are taking it,” said Dr. Su. “You should know the frequency by which you take it, and whether it’s taken with food or without, whether there are interactions with any other medications and I also think it’s important to know the side effects.”

Hospitals are busy places - but patients who respond positively to a hospital stay appreciated feeling like a priority, as though the hospital is busy serving them. HSS patient Ken Lay notes that he had a good experience after hip replacement surgery because of the attention and care he received in recovery.

“When you ring your nurse button, they are here at a moment’s notice,” said Lay. “They try to make you very, very comfortable.”

This story originally appeared at consumerreports.org.


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