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Tips on How to Pick an Orthopedic Hospital and Surgeon

patient speaking with doctor

Undergoing surgery can become a stressful time in someone’s life. Before physically preparing for surgery, you will need to prepare by selecting a hospital and surgeon to perform the surgery. As with a job interview, there are certain key indicators you should research in order to make an informed, educated decision.

Here are tips to keep in mind when choosing a hospital and surgeon:

  • Infection Rate: When choosing where to have surgery, it is important to be aware of the center’s infection rate as an infection can be a highly drastic outcome. Factors that can contribute to the infection rate of a hospital include:
    1. Time taken in surgery
    2. Type of anesthesia
    3. Sterile surgical environment
    4. Cleaning hands before administering care
    5. Receiving antibiotics before surgery
  • Number of Surgeries: When selecting a hospital, you should keep in mind choosing a hospital and surgeon with experience in the field of surgery that you may need. Medical evidence has shown that the more you do something, the better you get. If more time is available in the event of an emergency, it is often best to go to the hospital whose staff is most familiar with your need.
  • Training: A patient who is looking for a hospital or a surgeon should keep in mind the amount of training their desired physician has accrued. Practice makes perfect in healthcare. The more your physician candidates perform specific procedures, the better they are at what they do. In terms of education, physicians are required to undergo educational opportunities such as fellowships and residency programs.
  • Patient Experience: Patient experience plays an important role when it comes to choosing a hospital and surgeon. It not only involves the way in which patients are treated, but loved ones and visitors as well. One suggestion when considering patient excellence is to visit one or more of the hospitals that you have in mind. It is fair to judge a hospital on the details that are visible to you and the medical credentials of the physicians.
  • Rate of Successful Outcomes: Researching the rate of successful outcomes of your required surgery should be kept in mind when deciding on a hospital and physician. This can be done by looking online for objective data on hospital performance. An example of this would be Hospital Compare, an online service by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare). It enables you to assess the records of individual hospitals on the factors that most concern you.

Remember, do your research. Ask questions until you are confident that you are making the right choice. Few things are more important than health so take your time to make the correct healthcare decision.

Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics, No. 4 in rheumatology and No. 5 in geriatrics by U.S. News & World Report (2013-14), and is the first hospital in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center three consecutive times. HSS has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. From 2007 to 2012, HSS has been a recipient of the HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award. The hospital’s research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at hss.edu.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.