Community hospital vs major medical center: Sometimes local care is the better option

Although many patients will travel to a major medical center, hospital system or specialty center to treat a serious condition or undergo major surgery, in some cases, the local community hospital may be a better option, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report 

Patients with complex needs, such as those diagnosed with a rare type of cancer or those in need of a heart transplant, will clearly need care at a specialty hospital. But in general, for routine and commonly performed procedures, such as total hip and knee replacements, community hospitals with experience treating these conditions may be a good option, according to experts in lung disease, heart conditions, cancer and orthopedics interviewed by the publication.

Providers must also consider where the patient will receive the best support. In many cases, family and caregivers are local and will be better able to provide necessary support and care if the patient receives care at a nearby hospital.

In fact, one recent study revealed a potential downside for patients who travel long distances from home for surgical procedures and then return to their homes. Patients who are readmitted to the hospital where complications occur after a major surgery are more likely to survive if they return to the facility where that original surgery took place. 

One sign that a local hospital is keeping up with the latest research is its participation in clinical studies, according to the article. However, a recent survey found many community hospitals don't capitalize on clinical research opportunities, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the article