Rating the cleanliness of sleeping areas and bathrooms and nighttime noise levels may seem the stuff of hotel satisfaction surveys. In fact, hospital patients across the country are asked to evaluate these areas — along with pain management, communication and discharge processes — as part of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. Consumers can access patient satisfaction reviews from this national, standardized survey of hospital patient experiences at the Hospital Compare Web site.
And if you believe that clinical excellence is the one true path to improved care delivery, think again. A new study of HCAHPS data has determined a direct link between patient satisfaction and the quality of care, suggesting that the aims of providing patient-centered care and ensuring high clinical standards can be met simultaneously.
In a study funded by The Commonwealth Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health assessed the performance of 2,429 hospitals across multiple domains of patients' experiences—including communication, quality of nursing services and pain management—comparing HCAHPS patient survey data from July 2006 to July 2007 with data from the Hospital Quality Alliance and the American Hospital Association.
They found that patients have moderately high levels of satisfaction with their care, and that the quality of clinical care and certain hospital characteristics, such as a higher ratio of nurses to patient-days, were associated with greater patient satisfaction.
Other key findings: