There's an exceedingly simple way to get better health care: Choose a better hospital. A recent study shows that many patients have already done so, driving up the market shares of higher-quality hospitals.
A great deal of the decrease in deaths from heart attacks over the past two decades can be attributed to specific medical technologies like stents and drugs that break open arterial blood clots. But a study by health economists at Harvard, M.I.T., Columbia and the University of Chicago showed that heart attack survival gains from patients selecting better hospitals were significant, about half as large as those from breakthrough technologies.
That's a big improvement for nothing more than driving a bit farther to a higher-quality hospital.