Few decisions are more important than what hospital you should choose to treat a serious illness. But most Web resources that rate the quality of care at hospitals dole out data through the sites of health plans or big employers.
That will change on Sept. 1, when Chicago-based Subimo opens MyHealthcareAdvisor.com to the public at $12 for a six-month subscription. The company says the launch is a reaction to a good review BusinessWeek gave Subimo's employer-distributed ratings in June, which produced thousands of requests for a public site. Subimo ranks hospitals from 1 to 100 on factors such as complication rates, cost, and use of technology. For many diseases, it also summarizes research so patients can explore new treatments. "As people pay more of their health-care costs, there's a place for tools that will help them manage their own care," says Subimo Vice-President Joe Donlan.
A visit to the California, Oregon, or Washington wine country used to require a trip out of town. No longer. A growing number of West Coast vintners are working in garages, warehouses, and houses in cities -- either as a sideline to other jobs or because they prefer urban living. They purchase their grapes from growers and truck them in -- and some are producing award-winning wines. "We choose to live where our market is," says Ben Smith, co-owner of Seattle's Cadence Winery.
A rising star in Washington winemaking, Cadence has won acclaim for its merlot and cabernet sauvignon blends (cadencewinery.com, 206 381-9507). Jaffurs Wine Cellars has a Santa Barbara (Calif.) facility that uses grapes from nearby vineyards to produce Rh??ne varietals like syrah and grenache (jaffurswine.com, 805 962-7003).
The wineries usually require appointments for tours or tastings, but you can drop by Jaffurs; Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda, Calif. (rosenblumcellars.com, 510 865-7007); and Urban Wineworks in Portland, Ore. (urbanwineworks.com, 503 226-9797). Traveling to these wineries may not be scenic, but the ride is shorter.
Ansel Adams' iconic black-and-white photographs of Yosemite National Park have graced millions of wall calendars. But the San Francisco photographer had many other subjects. Drawing on the largest private collection of Adams's work, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (mfa.org) will showcase rarely seen shots of the artist's friends, New Mexican pueblos, and urban scenes in an exhibit through Dec. 31 of 180 photographs.
Picture quality is so-so, and it's a lot of cash for 20 minutes of video. But if you're caught without your camcorder or just don't want to haul it around, here's a passable option. Drugstore chain CVS (CVS) sells a recyclable, single-use digital one for $30, plus $13 for transferring the video clips to a DVD. It's not good indoors. But it fits into a shirt pocket, it's simple to use, and its 20-minute limit is plenty for most home movies.