Going Beyond the Scores

Finding the Right Care Options

Working together, District of Columbia hospital leaders recognize that searching for the right care options can be difficult, particularly when in crisis or feeling sick. Whether you are a patient or serving as a caregiver, deciding how to choose the right provider for you or a loved one can be confusing. D.C. hospitals are committed to providing you the necessary tools to become an active participant in your care decisions.

D.C. hospitals are committed to providing you with the tools you need to make care decisions. 

There are a wide variety of resources, rating programs and grading systems to evaluate hospital quality, patient safety and overall experience. Each resource uses their own approach to determine hospital performance. Some emphasize patient experience, others look at safety or access to care and costs. Some even charge a fee to use their rating system. This means that ratings can be very different depending on the system and the services a hospital provides. In fact, a group of national experts compared four well-known rating systems in 2015--Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Score, Consumer Reports Hospital Safety Rating, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals, and HealthGrades America’s Best Hospitals. The study found that no hospitals received the highest rating on all four systems.

Hospital ratings are a small chapter in the entire hospital and health care story.

Hospital ratings and grading systems are only a small chapter in the entire hospital and health care story. D.C. hospitals continuously work to improve the care they provide. Hospitals look at these ratings and collect information from other sources, staff, patients, and the community on areas of focus. They make improvements to safety practices, admissions and discharge procedures, medication safety, compassionate care training and infection prevention both on their own and with partners to focus on positive outcomes and experiences.

Every patient has a unique care journey.

The most important tip when you are conducting any search is to look for the hospital services and programs that are right for you and your loved ones. Consider whether the rating system you are looking at includes measures of the type of care you need. Ask questions about experience, risks, costs, and how follow up care is coordinated when deciding where to seek care. At the end of your visit, ask questions to make sure you understand what you need to do next and why.

Delivering healthy outcomes and positive patient experiences are key trademarks of District of Columbia hospital’s collective philosophy. D.C. hospitals are dedicated to providing safe, quality care to individuals in our community.