Thank you, Ralph Nader, for making us savvy consumers! 

He taught us to “shop around” for the things we buy and how to make decisions on value. Since “consumerism” caught on, we know what quality means and how products stack up.  From ovens to cars, companies strive for better products because we’re smarter consumers – except when it comes to medical care! 

Why? Costs are a mystery and there is no Consumer Reports for health care!

But, that’s changing – health care consumerism is trending!
Money Magazine ( has teamed up with the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit watchdog that collects hospital performance data.

Check out their list of top hospitals just published for the first time a few weeks ago.

What if your hospital didn’t make the cut? 
Don’t panic! Two very good resources share hospital data in user-friendly formats. Consult these for your peace of mind:

Hospital Safety Grade and Hospital Compare  

Uh-oh…What if your hospital is a B or C… or even a D?
Here’s what you can do as a savvy health care consumer:

  • Find out if your doctor is affiliated with more than one hospital. If you ever need hospital care, consider asking your doctor to admit you to the one with the higher rating.  Make sure whoever has your Medical Power of Attorney knows your choice!
  • If you live in an area where you don’t have alternative choices – use both hospital rating sites (mentioned above) to understand your hospital’s limitations.
    • Bring someone with you as your Care Partner – your extra pair of eyes, ears and hands to help you, and …
    • Bring our quick step-by-step guides so you will both know what to watch for and do to get quality care.

Keep in mind, even in top hospitals, complications can occur.

But, with your Care Partner and our guides at your side, you’ll be a savvy patient!

Bring a family member or friend with you as your Care Partner to:

  • Take notes for you– very handy to have later!
  • Help remind you of questions you want to ask.
  • (As needed) Help moderate the conversation to cover your agenda, as well as your doctor’s.

Adopting a “meeting mindset” is a win-win! Your doctors understand your needs quickly, and you can ensure your questions and priorities are covered.

For your best medical care, good communication is good for everyone!