It's almost impossible to escape the debate on the state of healthcare in the United States, and yes, there are important points to be made on all sides. But if you're a patient in need of treatment or surgery, your biggest concern isn't the ins and outs of healthcare law or insurance law. Your biggest concern is how to get the highest possible standard of care so that you come out healthy and whole. That may mean knowing the difference between the different hospitals in your area, and choosing the one that meets your needs best. If you have the option of choosing a physician owned hospital in your area, there are a few reasons why they may offer the higher standard of care that you're looking for.
Lower Nurse to Patient Ratios
It's a widely accepted bit of wisdom that students do better in schools with lower teacher to student ratios, and it seems entirely logical that the same should apply to hospitals – lower nurse to patient ratios should result in better patient outcomes. However, this idea is not as popular to talk about and it's certainly not universally applied. However, registered nurses insist that understaffing is a problem in hospitals. One in two nurses report that they have insufficient time to spend with patients. 77% report that they work 12 hour shifts, more than half report that their workloads are excessive, and 96 out of 100 nurses report feeling fatigued at the beginning of their shift. This is not a pretty picture.
Nursing experts say that lower nurse to patient ratios result in fewer medical and medication errors, fewer patient complications, lower mortality rates, and increased patient satisfaction. In light of that information, it seems obvious that choosing the hospital with the lowest nurse to patient ratio would be one of the best ways for a patient to ensure a positive outcome.
That's where physician owned hospitals come in. On average, these hospitals have a nurse to patient ratio of one nurse for every four patients. Compare that to the national average for general hospitals, where the ratio is one nurse for every eight patients.
More Specialized Care
Doctor owned hospitals are smaller, and as a result they tend to focus on one or a few specialties rather than admitting patients with a wide range of conditions. General hospitals that can treat everyone who walks in the door with any condition are still very necessary, but if you have a specific condition that can be treated by a specialty hospital in your area, that's where you're going to get the best care.
It's not just the fact that the doctors specialize that matters – it's the fact that the whole facility specializes. In a general hospital, your nurse in the cardiac ward may have been in the emergency room yesterday and in the obstetrics wing the day before that. In a physician owned hospital specializing in heart surgeries, your cardiac nurse is a cardiac nurse who deals with cardiac patients day in and day out. Furthermore, you'll be in a room designed to benefit a cardiac patient, not a general patient. You'll be getting care that exactly matches your condition.
Patients Say the Care is Better
If you were deciding which restaurant to eat at or which contractor to use, one of the first things you'd be likely to look at is what previous customers had to say about their experience. Why wouldn't you do the same with a health care facility? Patients consistently say that their experiences are better at physician owned and operated hospitals, which is a clear sign that these private hospitals are doing something right.
In 2009, a Consumer Reports study ranked physician owned hospitals number one in 19 states, after polling a million patients across the country. This is especially significant, as 20 states have no physician owned hospitals to choose from. That means that out of the remaining 30 states that do have physician owned hospitals, well over half voted one of those hospitals the best in the state.
When you're facing an important medical procedure, you deserve the best care that you can get. Take the time to explore physician owned hospitals in your area and find out if one of them is right for you.