Finding the right hospital
The quality of the health care you receive depends on many things besides the skill of your surgeon. Many health care providers at a hospital will be directly involved in your care before, during, and after surgery.
The work of all hospital staff affects how well the hospital functions. This affects your safety and the quality of the care you will receive there.
Choosing the best hospital for your knee replacement
There are many things a hospital can offer to improve the quality of care you receive when you have a knee replacement. For example, find out if your hospital has:
It can also be helpful to know how many knee replacements have been done at the hospital you have chosen or are considering for your surgery. Patients who have surgery at hospitals that do more of the same type of procedure often do better.
If you are having one of the newer knee-replacement techniques, find out how many of them your hospital has already done.
Hospitals are now being asked to report events called "quality measures." These measures are reports of different things that affect patient care. Some common quality measures are the number of:
Hospitals receive scores for their quality. These scores can give you an idea of how your hospital compares to other hospitals.
Find out if your hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission (a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality and safety of health care).
Also see if your hospital is rated highly by state agencies or consumer or other groups. Some places to look for hospital ratings are:
Finding the right doctor
Ways to check a doctor's skills, knowledge, and quality of care
Getting a recommendation of doctors who perform knee-replacement surgeries from friends or your health care provider is important. But there are other ways to check on the skills, knowledge, and quality of care that different doctors provide. You can learn more about doctors and the quality of their care from:
While these sources of information are often helpful, find out if they are reliable before using them to make a decision.
Is your doctor board certified?
"Board certified" means that a doctor has completed a training program in a specialty. Orthopedics is a subspecialty. Doctors receive 5 years (sometimes more) of extra training in their specialty after they finish medical school.
To become board certified, doctors must pass an exam (called a "board") that tests their knowledge, skills, and experience in their specialty. Orthopedic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.
Is your doctor experienced?
Knee-replacement surgeries are very technical. Ask your surgeon how many knee-replacement surgeries he or she has done. Make sure your surgeon has received special training in any newer procedures, if that is what you plan to have. Some of the newer techniques require special skills.
To perform any surgery at a hospital, a surgeon must be credentialed. This means that the hospital has made sure the surgeon is trained and has the experience needed to perform the surgery.
You may also ask your doctor how often his or her patients have these problems after surgery:
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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