Heart disease, the leading cause of death for Americans, does not discriminate. The disease affects men and women of every ethnicity in all corners of the U.S. Since heart disease is so common, it’s important to live a heart healthy lifestyle and educate yourself about your heart care options so you’re prepared if something happens.

Proactive patients

Being an informed patient or caregiver is even more essential in an increasingly complex health care environment. The U.S. health care delivery system is an ever-changing and growing industry that is often confusing for the everyday American.

Too often, people are forced to make a decision for themselves or a loved one without easy access to the credible health care information they both need and deserve. Unfortunately, this inability to make informed decisions can impact care efficiency, duration of care, health care costs and, most importantly, quality of care.

As a patient or caregiver, you have a lot of responsibility resting on your shoulders when it comes to making informed decisions about heart care. With numerous options for researching health care options in your community, it’s hard to know which information sources you can trust when you need to find a hospital.

Where you start

Fortunately, some free websites supply patients the platform to search and compare hospitals in their immediate area, based on credible information that is available to the public for the first time. Information comes directly from a database of heart conditions and procedures performed in thousands of hospitals nationwide.

Armed with this trusted information, you can compare hospitals in your community side-by-side and select the right hospital for you or your loved one’s cardiac care needs. This can help before you receive a diagnosis, upon diagnosis or when you are in need of a service not available through your current provider. You turn to online search tools to help you make decisions about restaurants or hotels. Why not do the same for your heart care?