When a person suffers from a specific health condition that requires a hospital admission, the first question that comes to mind is which hospital to choose? In order for the patient to receive top medical service at an affordable price, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right hospital.
Studies have shown that any element involved in the medical industry is key in improving the medical service and providing the patient with the optimal health and psychological atmosphere, thus creating the best image of the chosen hospital or medical center. Some patients choose the hospital based on medical competency, state-of-the-art equipment, or location and service. Furthermore, there are other factors that affect the patient’s choice, especially after the significant expansion of the hospitalization world, which has been based on modern concepts that have revitalized the medical tourism around the world. So why and on what basis do we choose the hospital?
Before diving into the reasons behind choosing the best hospital, it is important to know that if a hospital is accredited, the patient can rest assured that it follows stringent standards as laid down by the accreditation body. However, this does not mean that it becomes the ultimate destination for those seeking treatment. There are also other reasons for the patient or his family to consider when choosing the best hospital. It is based not only on the hospital’s reliability, but also on the suitability and accuracy of the patient’s medical condition, length of stay, location, costs, etc.
General features and guidelines
Choosing the right hospital positively affects the patient’s health condition. A positive patient experience is related to better health outcomes. This does not only apply to complex interventions and medical conditions that require special attention; all surgical interventions require a great deal of experience and utmost attention. How can a patient be sure that he is getting the optimal treatment in a hospital? What are the quality standards to be considered when searching for the best hospital?
It is worth noting that not every hospital is suitable for specific treatments or surgeries, even if it was renowned.
The best hospital always promises to deliver the optimal treatment for the patient’s condition. Not only do the competence and experience in certain treatment methods play a role in choosing a hospital, but also a large number of fundamentally important factors must be also taken into account. This starts with the quality of the consultation, as it also gives information about the hospital suitability, distinction and quality.
Therefore, the reasons behind choosing the appropriate hospital must be divided into two groups:
- Medical and technical factors such as the competence of the medical and nursing staff in addition to the state-of-the-art equipment and tools.
- Environmental factors, both internally and externally, such as the hospital’s architecture and its surroundings, its adherence to safety conditions, the adoption of renewable energy, its location and the facilities it provides.
Finnish researchers believe that when we talk about which hospital to choose, we are only thinking about non-critical and long-term treatment cases, in which the patient is able and have the time to think, research and choose. In such case, his condition requires special care, but it is not an emergency. In emergency and critical cases, the patient always aims to go to the nearest hospital, because the goal is to save his life first and foremost. Thus, the nearest hospital is preferred, even if it is not necessarily the best.
Regardless of these cases and considerations, there are steps that patients usually take to choose the most appropriate hospital. The first step in choosing the right medical service provider, especially abroad, begins with collecting all possible information about the potential clinic or hospital. There are several ways to find this information, whether by looking at their website, or checking their leaflets, as well as read any article or evaluation about the hospital or clinic published in the media. It is also possible to coordinate with medical intermediaries to obtain the required information about a medical institution.
The medical aspect of the evaluation and selection process
During the consultation, the patient must be provided with a comprehensive explanation of the course of treatment in plain language, if possible. The specialist should also highlight in detail the risks, potential consequences and chances of recovery. The more informed the patient is about his upcoming treatment, the better he can understand and track what is happening to him in order to choose the right hospital. This has a critical impact on his sense of safety and trust in the surgeon or therapist. This benefits both the doctor and the patient. Consultation is required pre- and post-surgery. Moreover, a detailed discharge conversation about the necessary procedures is at the core of good patient care.
Accreditation of healthcare services is recommended to ensure operation according to the highest quality standards. Accreditation is viewed as a reputable tool to evaluate and enhance the quality of healthcare. There is consistent evidence that shows that accreditation programs improve the process of care provided by healthcare services. The patient should make sure that the hospital or clinic is accredited by a recognized body, and that the accreditation is still valid. The patient can easily check the list of health centers accredited by international accreditation bodies.
JCI standards serve as the foundation of an evaluation process that can help healthcare organizations measure, assess and improve performance. The ISO certificate is the right choice for streamlining the daily hospital work and adopting the best practices in the world. There are also some foreign hospitals affiliated with world-renowned health institutions or reputable universities. You can make sure whether the intended foreign hospital is owned, operated, or formally affiliated with one of its international counterparts.
Treatment and beyond
A hospital’s top-notch healthcare services attract the patient when he is searching for the best place for treatment. Healthcare starts with hospitalization and continues with follow-ups. Therefore, it is important to ascertain the nursing services provided by the hospital, and whether it is possible to obtain a personal nurse around the clock to meet the patient’s needed follow-ups.
Furthermore, it is key to investigate the medical team, which is an easy task given that the potential hospital is well-known and is distinguished by its medical team and achievements. It is also necessary to know the services provided by the hospital and the equipment used.
Experts in the hospitalization field confirm that the main criterion in choosing a hospital is undoubtedly the presence of professional and brilliant specialists in the desired medical field. The expertise demonstrated by doctors in a particular treatment method or in surgery is the core of treatment quality. Thus, the numbers of cases can give information about the experience in a particular treatment and the medical outcomes. It is also worth noting the importance of having highly skilled specialists in specific fields other than merely treating the underlying disease, for instance a dietician, physical therapist, or psychotherapist. In some diseases, the ability to access a specialized staff, whether for the purpose of lymphatic drainage or pain management, is what makes a hospital the best.
Aftercare is extremely important to any surgery or treatment. This is the period that the body needs to recover and heal after surgery or treatment. Therefore, it is important to know some aftercare details from the medical service provider, such as: Is having a close friend or a patient family member allowed in the post-treatment period? Should the patient stay in the hospital, or can he be taken home to continue treatment? Also, it is necessary to know the hospital’s emergency arrangements in case any complications arise during or after surgery and treatment. Moreover, it is important, especially for those receiving treatment abroad, to consider how the hospital or health institution they are looking for handles medical records and other treatment-related documents. These records and documents are known to be extremely important references, especially if the patient needs to visit the doctor regularly after treatment, or if he needs to get routine check-ups. In this case, it is important to know whether the hospital uses electronic medical records to store and retrieve patient files and records, including X-ray films, laboratory results, and examination records. Also, the patient should make sure that copies of these records can be obtained for later use in other cases or in other medical centers.
With the expansion of medical tourism in the world, attracting patients has become fundamental for the hospital. The goal of every hospital management is to achieve quality excellence, optimize the flow of processes and effectively manage the daily work.
Most foreign hospitals working in the medical tourism field have special criteria to unveil their performance ratio and quality indicators. A remarkable feature is the hospital’s ability and willingness to show these rates upon request. Thus, the patient or client can assess the hospital’s work history and the quality of the service provided with regard to a particular treatment or surgery. Regarding technologies and medical equipment used, it is worth noting that not every hospital has the same technical options in terms of diagnostics and innovative robotic-based surgery, for instance. Continuous and rapid medical developments always result in technical innovations linked to capital-intensive investments. Therefore, it is important to learn about the latest updates adopted by the hospital. This would also make a big difference for the patient and could save his life, in terms of diagnosis or surgery.
Non-medical services or facilities
Many hospitals and clinics, especially those providing medical tourism services, started providing integrated packages of services that include the costs of therapeutic procedures, analyzes and related treatments, in addition to packages that include accommodation costs. Some of these medical centers provide a five-star hotel accommodation in their own hotel rooms, or offer comprehensive packages that include reduced cost accommodation in hotels near the hospital, or provide offers that include airport/hotel transfers, interviews with doctors as well as pre- and post-surgery medical examinations, in addition to post-treatment care services.
Today, this concept has evolved and now includes visa facilitations, provision of an interpreter or a personal guide to accompany you during the trip. The languages spoken by the hospital and nursing staff also play a major role in choosing the desired destination.
Furthermore, the hospital location is key; its proximity to all service/entertainment facilities and markets is a fundamental element. At the same time, it should be in a quiet place away from pollution and noise. Medical seekers now prefer environmentally friendly hospitals over those that consume large amounts of fuel and use traditional methods of medical or even regular waste disposal. Protecting the environment is a key factor in choosing a hospital or medical institution. A clean hospital environment plays a major role in controlling germs, and it must be completely free of any kind of contaminants. The expert in charge of this unit manages all activities related to the hospital environment safety, by examining and monitoring the water used in the hospital, following the right sewage disposal method, taking potable water and wastewater samples from the sewage filter, and programming the control of insects, vectors and rodents, in addition to supervising the examination of disinfection and sterilization materials, etc.
Additionally, ensuring the cleanliness and safety of all environmental factors (light, sound, physical environmental factors, etc.) for the various departments and units is imperative. Soaps now used limit the use of chemicals, give good results with cold water and can be used as an alternative to cleaning products in washing machines, dishwashers and consumer products.
Furthermore, hospotels have become a very sought-after destination for anyone seeking treatment. A growing number of patients are seeking treatment at hospotels. The best hospital for these patients is the one that combines both medical competence and excellence while providing highly trained front desk receptionists, hotel architecture in terms of halls, rooms, wall colors, bathrooms and food service.
Generally, the management department plays a crucial role in the facilitation of patient service, whether the paperwork is completed in a timely manner or the treatment seeker is greeted in a hospitable and attentive way. Moreover, the hospital’s elegant and beautiful surroundings should be designed to provide comfort for patients and visitors, while its green spaces and convenient location make it a wonderful place for everyone.
Experts confirm that all these features involve considerable costs, significant expertise and continuous care, but on the other hand, they effectively contribute to ensuring the best treatment for the patient and providing greater comfort for his family. It has also been scientifically proven that is contributes to accelerating patient recovery. Most importantly, it ensures patient satisfaction, especially to those whose condition requires a long hospital stay.
Other factors can contribute to a successful treatment in addition to the various languages used in the hospital to deal with various nationalities. The presence of close relatives is important to some people. In this case, it is best to choose a hospital that offers inpatient accommodation. In conclusion, investments in physical and human capital is the main factor that provides the hospital’s integrated environment.
Highlights and Abstracts
Searching for the best hospital for treatment is a wise step and the patient ought to consider all these factors that actually let the hospital stand out and make it more suitable for different medical conditions.
However, experts recommend using several sources of information in order to make sure that the right choice is made. This includes:
- Recommendations from friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone who underwent treatment or surgery in the same location you would like to inquire about.
- Find hospital reviews and opinions on independent healthcare websites, as well as on the websites of institutions responsible for evaluating services provided in healthcare centers.
- Read the testimonies and cases of former patients who received treatment in the same hospital, on forums or websites, electronic support groups, flyers and medical journals.
In the research process, the patient can turn to specialized companies and centers to learn more about this, and they will send them a list of the available hospitals and specialists, and provide them with important information that may be useful to them during their stay. Patients or their relatives usually tend to choose a hospital based on proximity to the place of residence. Nevertheless, the patient is advised to objectively try to find the best hospital suitable for the treatment of his illness. It is worth noting that the best hospitals always prioritize the patient’s comfort and convenience at each stage of their journey. They focus on making the patient’s experience as seamless as possible, right from appointment booking to discharge. Great hospitals always put their patients first. Their policies, facilities, and pricing structure are developed to provide a hassle-free experience to all patients. In addition, they focus on empowering their patients by giving them access to all the necessary information.
The importance of legal liability in choosing a hospital
Hospitals, healthcare clinics and treatment centers may be liable for medical malpractice that occurs in their facilities. Thus, doctors, nurses and medical staff who are employees at a medical facility can cause the facility to be liable if they are negligent or commit malpractice at the facility. When doctors or other healthcare providers commit medical malpractice, the treating hospitals may bear legal liability.
It is important to learn about the legal liability when choosing a hospital to receive treatment. For instance, what about contracts for the services provided? Do they include a clause on accountability and legal liability in the event of any complications arising from negligence? What is the hospital’s history of dealing with cases of medical malpractice and negligence?
It is also important to have a person in charge of covering the costs of medical procedures as well as the relevant terms and conditions. It is also imperative to be aware of the country’s local procedures in dealing with cases of malpractice and medical negligence. There are foreign treatment seekers who are interested in inquiring about the possibility of receiving special assistance, whether from the government or non-governmental organizations in the host country, in the form of legal aid or advice on malpractice and medical negligence issues. This is of significant importance in choosing a hospital In addition to learning about legal liability and cases of medical malpractice, the patient should be also informed about the way foreign hospitals or clinics deal with patient safety. This include the hospital’s safety policy, and whether they have a special policy regarding the disposal of dangerous or infectious materials such as contaminated needles as well as health policies related to food and patient facilities, hospotel safety in addition to safety precautions during the post-treatment phase.