A primer on using data to stay healthy and get well

medicare compare ss


How do you choose a new doctor or a nursing home? Get information on toxins in your neighborhood.? Search an index of reliable, up-to-date medical findings? Ask friends, do a web search or brave an impenetrable government database?  The HealthDecider data links to the left are designed to help.

Most are national, but some are local to Boston. Most are easy to use. However, the Medicare fee database is not consumer-friendly. More on that below.

A few general tips on how to use them:

  •  Always cross reference. Different  sources may rank the same hospital differently
  • Pay attention to sources of information.
  • Look for most recent data.
  • Learn a little about spread sheets to keep track of your research and to    crunch your own numbers.
  • Comment here on the usefulness of this data.
  • Talk to your doctor about “shared decision making.


The Medicare fee database is rather complex. One way to make sense of it is to simply search on the hospital or provider name. It will then give you a list of procedures you can click on.  We include it here because it contains valuable information. Do know that this is not a consumer database. You  need to know a bit about payer jargon and databases to make sense of it.


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