We move to a new area? Are about to have a baby? Need to find an allergy specialist? But when there's more then one hospital in our community how do we know which one is best for our particular need?
23 news reporter Natalie Kaplan investigates what different hospitals in our area are doing to report the quality of their medical care.
Sometime next year, the government plans to release data showing how we rate care in hospitals across the country but many hospitals including the five main ones in our area are ahead of the band wagon. They're already posting information online about the quality of their services.
Now hospitals are not only racing to get their quality reports on their websites but some also think it's their duty to do so.
23 News looked at the five hospital's websites in our area right now four out of five of them have data up about their medical care.
1. SwedishAmerican Hospital
2. Rockford Memorial Hospital
3. Beloit Memorial Hospital
4. OSF Saint Anthony’s Medical Center
They are including data like how many patients receive Aspirin for heart pains upon arrival. There is also information about patient satisfaction.
Right now FHN Memorial Hospital is working on how they should post their information online so it’s easiest for us to understand.
But it's not smooth sailing quite yet. The problem with some of these websites along with others across the country is that they're sometimes difficult to navigate so right now hospitals are working on making their sites a bit more user friendly.
Another issue is that hospitals collect and present their data in different ways, making that information difficult to compare.
All five hospitals Natalie spoke with are in the midst of developing and improving their sites, realizing that research online for this kind of medical care information is the wave of the future. If we can't find it on their site, we'll go somewhere else to get it.
Now, if you want to compare one facility to another you can head to this website: www.hospitalcomapre.hhs.gov
This link shows how more then 4,000 hospitals stack up against each other.
Because Beloit Memorial Hospital is in Wisconsin they send us to another hospital compare site for facilities in Wisconsin. You can find this link on their website.