How can I learn about doctor and hospital quality of care?

Caucasian woman holding baby  and typing on laptop computer in kI get questions all the time about which doctor to visit or which local hospital is the best for certain services. There are many resources available to evaluate care.

First, start by asking your friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations. Hearing the experiences of people you trust offers helpful insights as you research your options.

There are also many websites dedicated to rating doctors and hospitals. Here are two that I like:

Healthgrades ( is a website that allows you to search doctors, dentists and hospitals in your location. Patient satisfaction reviews are available to read comments and you can search doctors by specialty.

The Leapfrog Group ( performs hospital surveys and provides comparable results on their website. They assess hospitals on how patients fare, resources used to care for patients, and leadership and structures that promote patient safety.

These are great places to start, but remember to continue your own research. Look at doctor’s credentials. See where they went to medical school, where they did their residency, and where they practice.

I always recommend calling the doctor’s office before committing. Make sure the doctor is covered by your health plan and accepting new patients. (Remember to ask the right question.) Also make sure the receptionist is courteous and professional. A rude greeting could be a sign that the practice is disrespectful of patients in general.

Most importantly, make sure you’re comfortable when you visit with the doctor. It is important that you can be open with your doctor and that you trust your doctor’s advice.

All this month we are answering your questions and we will be answering even more in this month’s webinar Ask Lori-Ann Your Healthcare Questions on January 27, 2016 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Reserve your spot now! Bring your questions to the webinar or submit them in advance by email or on Facebook or Twitter.