Facts to Assess & Find an Excellent Hospital

Do not need answer fast.

What information can be referenced readily to help someone find an excellent hospital for general and not specialized needs? For example, if you’re out of town and something medically urgent but not immediately life-threatening pops up, how to figure out where to go since you’re not in a super rush? Going to the closest hospital seems a little like playing Russian Roulette if one has the luxury of time and can go a little further to find excellence.

I am travelling with my wife and we’re out of town but still in the CONUS/lower 48, in a metropolitan area. My wife got suddenly ill. She has a complex medical history so I didn’t want to take her to an urgent care clinic, but to an E.R. instead. I wasn’t sure if the closest hospital was excellent so I searched for trauma centers and used that information to pick a place that’s half an hour away, bypassing other closer facilities.

So, is that a good rule of thumb, finding a level 1 trauma center? She did not have trauma but severe nausea and diarrhea lasting several days, in case that matters. She ended up being admitted and she is there now.

Back home I had looked this up and the closest level 1 trauma center is Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, and I think that is a pretty good one as hospitals go, so that seemed like good logic to follow now.

I realize this could stray towards IMHO but I want to focus on the factual evidence that rates hospitals, so that’s why I started this in GQs.

Three references I found, for finding best hospitals:

US News & World Reports’ Best Hospitals in the USA — and, USN&WR 2013-2014 Rankings

healthgrades.com’s Hospital Ratings — click the “Find Hospitals” tab

Verified Trauma Centers, ACoS (American College of Surgeons)

The first two are ratings systems.

I don’t know the answer, but I hope your wife is better.

It may seem obvious, but you want a Level 1 trauma center if you have serious trauma. However, if the problem is something else (for example, a heart attack), another hospital may be better for that specific condition.

She is better, thanks for asking.

Yes a trauma center is for trauma but I used that as a basic assessment of what capabilities a hospital has, and with a general assumption that the better hospitals would be trauma centers. Maybe valid, maybe not.

There was a Simpsons episode where Homer was confronted with this question after Marge broker her leg while skiing.