Which are the best private hospitals?
Planning a hospital stay anytime soon? If so‚ you may want to check out how your local private hospital treats its patients. A list of the top 20 hospitals nationally - based on patient satisfaction scores given by some of Discovery Health's 1.2 million members for 2015 - sheds light on where you are most likely to have the best experience.Medical experts rubbish DA man's 'ineffective' vaccine claimThe National Institute for Communicable Diseases says data shows the rotavirus vaccine given to babies to prevent severe diarrhea and death infants does work‚ contrary to a claim that there is a problem with the vaccine's effectiveness. If you're a scheme member‚ you can view online the overall scores given by members who received treatment in more than 130 private hospitals across the country.Gateway Private Hospital‚ a medium-size hospital in Durban‚ has come out tops in the rankings‚ followed by the small Lowveld Hospital in Mpumalanga‚ the province's only listing.Two more small hospitals‚ Cormed Clinic in Gauteng and Sunningdale Hospital in the North West take third and fourth place respectively.At least six small‚ medium and large Mediclinic hospitals make it into the top 20‚ spanning Gauteng‚ Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.The Western Cape has the most hospitals in the top 20‚ with eight hospitals ranked in total‚ Gauteng with five‚ KwaZulu-Natal four‚ and North West two.The patient survey‚ based on one developed by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality‚ comprises 22 questions grouped into eight categories. These include an overall rating of your hospital stay‚ doctor and nurse communication‚ pain management‚ staff responsiveness‚ hospital environment‚ and medicine and discharge information. Only hospitals that receive 50 or more survey results a year are included in the rankings.Read more on how the survey works here. Discovery says that to ensure the comparison of patient experience between hospitals is as fair as possible‚ the analysis of data considers factors that hospitals cannot reasonably control – such as the nature of illness and demographic factors such as age and gender.“Measuring quality of care is standard practice in many healthcare systems the world over‚" says head of quality care at Discovery Health‚ Dr Roshini Moodley Naidoo."Our measurement and feedback on quality of care‚ combined with strategies that healthcare providers apply‚ have the potential to make a significant difference to healthcare delivery. We’ve already started seeing this in the latest survey results. There is greater awareness from healthcare providers regarding quality of care‚ and an additional 20 hospitals meet the criteria and were ranked highly by members of medical schemes‚ which is very encouraging."She said there'd been a large increase in the responses Discovery Health received since 2013. Across all hospitals there have been gradual improvements in survey scores for nursing care and communication‚ and sharing medical information. Although scores for the hospital environment have not shown any significant change since 2010‚ hospitals are being rated up to 8% better than three years ago.“Patient experience is an important component of care and has the potential to give our healthcare system a more patient-centred focus. Such healthcare systems aim to understand the needs of patients‚ to involve them in decisions about their care‚ and to respond quickly to their needs. Healthcare systems that place a high value on quality of care have shown to save costs and have improved health outcomes for patients‚” says Moodley Naidoo.She points out that there are many factors contributing to the delivery of care; that a lower patient experience score does not necessarily mean hospitals do not deliver high-quality care."It simply shows areas for improvement in the overall patient experience‚ which the hospital may already be addressing‚" she said.