Two benchmarking organizations, under a partnership announced Tuesday, will study whether clinical quality is related to satisfaction of hospital patients.
J.D. Power and Associates, a Westlake Village, Calif.-based customer satisfaction research firm, will team with healthcare rating service HealthGrades to identify and recognize hospitals for both clinical and service excellence.
"We thought that the two went hand-in-hand," says John Tews, a Michigan-based spokesperson for J.D. Power.
Each company already rates companies in specific industries on a scale of one to five stars and presents awards for high achievers.
As part of the new Distinguished Hospital Performance program, Lakewood, Colo.-based HealthGrades will evaluate hospitals on 20 procedures and diagnoses in six specialties: cardiac surgery, cardiology, orthopedic surgery, neuroscience, pulmonary medicine and vascular surgery.
By the same token, J.D. Power will query recently discharged patients on their experiences with the same hospitals in five key areas: information provided; emotional support; dignity and respect; speed and efficiency; and physical comfort.
Initial results will help establish industry averages, Tews says. Hospitals that score in the top 20% nationwide will receive awards for clinical excellence and/or service excellence.
"Hopefully, the two do go hand-in-hand," Tews says. "We think they will."
Tews says hospitals will provide J.D. Power with only "minimal information" about patients--name, contact information and date of discharge, but not diagnosis or condition--to comply with the HIPAA patient privacy rules that take full effect April 14.