When Making Medical Decisions, Consider the Source
The costs and types of medical procedures could be dependent on the location in which they are being performed.

Imagine you want to get married, and you need to choose a place to have the reception. This will be a big and costly decision and one that you rarely need to make. You don't often go to weddings so you don't have a lot of personal experience with selecting reception halls. One place runs many advertisements on TV, and you need to reserve a date far in advance. Would it change your mind if customer reviews complained that the food was poorly prepared, and the service was slow? Would a lesser known wedding hall be a better decision if the customers gave it rave reviews, but they did no advertising? With such a huge decision, it is important to get as much information as possible ahead of time to make an informed decision.

Studies show that people are easily influenced by what others do or say, as they want to fit in social groups. In one example, when people in a hotel saw a message indicating that it was normal to reuse a towel and that others had done so in the past, they were more likely to reuse the towel according to a ScienceDaily article.

We are a social people and are inclined to make decisions based on what others say or do. You are likely to value someone else's review on a wedding hall or reuse a towel because other people are doing it. You are also likely to use the same decision-making process when selecting a hospital for a medical procedure.

Would you get a surgery done from a hospital where the reputation and marketing are great, but has lower than average reviews and data outcomes? Or would you rather get a surgery done from a lesser known hospital that has great reviews and data outcomes? It’s easy to be swept away into the arms of hospitals whose reputation is fabulous and whose marketing is compelling. It’s easier to get services from those hospitals than to research and consider the real outcomes.

Everything else being equal, most people would choose to have their surgery done in a place that has the best probability of a positive outcome. In the best case scenario, a hospital can get a great reputation from having satisfied patients. However, popularity and patient outcomes don't always go together. Typically, patients are weighing medical outcomes data less than the hospital’s marketing and reputation or the experience of one or two friends that can be an issue.

Consider the tragic example that CNN reported-a heart surgery in Florida’s St. Mary’s Medical Center resulting in the death of an infant. For St. Mary’s open-heart surgeries during 2011-2013, CNN reported a 12.5 percent mortality rate (“more than three times the national average”) after conducting an investigation there. The hospital did not reveal its actual mortality rate, but it denied CNN’s claims, according to CNN.

St. Mary’s is not the only hospital that did not reveal medical data-out of 109 hospitals, sixty did not report “basic information,” according to CNN. Only a small number of hospitals were willing to “report outcomes on its website,” according to CNN.

Another CNN article reported that some parents “now torture themselves…should they have asked more questions, searched online for the hospital’s mortality rate?” After all, St. Mary’s was the hospital that the cardiologists had recommended for them.

The CNN article also reported that there were “glowing claims” but “no actual data” on the hospital’s website, which is quite important. Knowing the real data like the mortality and success rates and the outcomes are a critical part in the decision-making process and will help patients make informed decisions.

According to CNN, a source said, "a lack of institutional transparency may have contributed to potentially unnecessary risk and serious harm.”

As a patient, you need to be informed of what procedure you are getting, the associated costs, the surgery effects and the reputation of the surgeon actually performing the surgery. Also, a surgeon is not the only one who will be providing care and service. You may also want to consider the post-surgery care (“intensive care unit”), according to another CNN article*.

*Note: In this article, CNN has summarized medical data of several hospitals in this chart.

Medical data and information are necessary assets in making informed decisions. A source in the CNN article even said, “reporting is an actual measure of quality.”

So here’s the key: medical outcomes data can tell you more about your future experience than a hospital’s reputation or marketing. You should be referring more to the outcomes data for major medical decisions.

HP Chief Software Evangelist Paul Muller said in an interview that “having better data helps us drive better healthcare outcomes,” according to a BriefingsDirect interview. He said that the medical data could “generate life-saving or lifestyle improving insights,”. In the same interview, Avnet Services Healthcare Practice Senior Practice Manager Patrick Kelly said the transparency of the data “opens the eyes around processes in the organization that are problematic and that can be very basic.”

Clearly this is portrayed in the St. Mary’s example.

At SurgiPrice, you can get access to the self-reported data after medical procedures. Surgeons report medical information while patients report customer satisfaction information. With SurgiPrice, you can get maximum access to the best information to make an informed medical decision.

SurgiPrice maintains great relationships with specialists in the medical industry and will ask the right questions, so that no little piece of information is left out.

SurgiPrice will ask questions such as:
For example, a patient that went back to work just three days after a medical procedure and could be completely satisfied with the result. SurgiPrice goes beyond the patient reported outcomes to letting you know that many patients that received similar medical procedures returned to work after just one day.

Making a medical decision is important, so don’t be afraid to access medical outcomes and to ask questions. The more information you have, the more informed your decision will be. Like they say, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.

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