Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Health Care: Do Your Footwork Online!

Joe Light at CCN Money has consolidated a nice little list of online tools that consumers can use to make informed decisions about their health care expenditures.

It takes five minutes of Web surfing to compare prices and features and to check out customer reviews on, say, a digital camera.

But for health care? "We just haven't evolved to that level," says Jean Chenoweth, a senior vice president at Thomson Healthcare, a division of the giant information services company.
Clarity seems to be forthcoming. Many companies are launching online tools and websites geared towards this trend towards transparency. According to Light, some of the best available are run directly by the insurers themselves.

He provides a step-by-step research program for finding info about prospective providers and hospitals, including web addresses for a variety of tools and info on how to properly implement them. A few of the resources he point to include:
  • A site for researching whether your practitioner is board certified or not.

  • This site allows you to see how many times a provider has performed a certain procedure, as well as documentation of sanctions and malpractice suits.

  • For checking to see if your hospital has proper staffing and equipment.

  • provides survival rates for patients, both while they are in the hospital and for six months following discharge.
There are several more tools on his list, along with explanations of how to use them, what their limitations seem to be, and what info they can provide. All in all, there is a wide ranging array of sites that should prove invaluable to someone trying to pierce the veil of medical mystery that surrounds health care in modern America.

SOURCE: "Click here for the best health care" 03/25/08
photo courtesy of barnoid, used under this Creative Commons license

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