doctors rushing patientLet’s face it.  When it comes to being in control as a consumer- information is power.  And being in control of your own health and health care is probably one of the most important things you can do as you go through life.  Up until the last couple of years, the healthcare world has been opaque when it comes to getting the information that you need to make good decisions- whether it’s quality indicators or costs.  But that’s changing rapidly- especially in Arizona.

Today we posted the second complete year of AZ Hospital Compare– which provides Arizona consumers with data on quality, care, costs, and charges at Arizona hospitals.  The info on AZ Hospital Compare can help you make better decisions when choosing a hospital for childbirth or an elective procedure.  It can also help you negotiate price if you’re paying cash.  Hospital administrators can use the data to make sure they’re on track for their own goals and compare themselves to the competition.

For example, if you need an operation, you may want to look at how safe hospitals are for patients having surgery.  You also might want to look at some of the quality data that comes from patients themselves.  If you’re planning to have a baby, you can look up the percentage of births by hospital that end up in Caesarian-sections.

The costs and charges sections give the most recent data available for how much hospitals are charging on average and how much those services cost the hospital to provide.  Sticking with the childbirth theme, a C-section without complications on average was charged at $18,920 in 2012, but you can also see that one hospital charged on average $44,166 for it.  A normal (vaginal) childbirth was a lot cheaper – the average charge in 2012 was $10,565, while the most expensive rate charged by a hospital was $24,057.

Like I said- information is power when it comes to making smart decisions as a consumer- and our new AZ Hospital Compare site provides you with more information to put you in the driver seat.