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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

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Choosing Quality Health Care

Here are some tips for making quality a key factor in the health care decisions you make about health plans, doctors, treatments, hospitals, and long-term care. Select for a list of more resources where you can get answers to these questions.

Look for a health plan that:

  • Has been given high ratings by its members on the things that are important to you.
  • Has the doctors and hospitals you want or need.
  • Provides the benefits (covered services) you need.
  • Provides services where and when you need them.
  • Has a documented history of doing a good job of preventing and treating illness.

Look for a doctor who:

  • Has received high ratings for quality of care.
  • Has the training and experience to meet your needs.
  • Will work with you to make decisions about your health care.

If you become ill, make sure you understand:

  • Your diagnosis.
  • How soon you need to be treated.
  • Your treatment choices, including the benefits and risks of each treatment.
  • How much experience your doctor has in treating your condition.

Look for a hospital that:

  • Is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
  • Is rated highly by the State and by consumer groups or other organizations.
  • Has a lot of experience and success in treating your condition.
  • Monitors quality of care and works to improve quality.

In choosing a nursing home or other long-term care facility, look for one that:

  • Has been found by State agencies and other groups to provide quality care.
  • Provides a level of care, including staff and services, that will meet your needs.

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AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care