While it is hard for patients to evaluate relative levels of expertise of medical and health care, there have been a number of rating systems developed that may help provide guidance. Interestingly, this post tends towards evaluation by reputation and word-of-mouth, rather than more objective measures like outcomes. See earlier post An Ounce of Evidence.
Evaluating medical care is still an intransigent problem that has not yet been solved. A patient diagnosed with a life-threatening condition should not have to accept run-of-the-mill, middle-of-the-curve, standard of care treatment when she knows that excellent care is available somewhere. Finding out where is hard, even for health care professionals. There is no central clearinghouse for outcomes data, and most hospitals carefully maintain secrecy about how they measure up on safety and results. Isn’t it time to shift this worn-out paradigm? As health care resources become scarcer, one that has been chronically underutilized is the network of activated people undergoing treatment. Let patients help.