Despite patients giving high approval ratings to hospitals, an analysis of patient-satisfaction data shows they feel facilities still fall short in basic quality issues, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Patients were satisfied they received high-quality clinical care in the four conditions measured: acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and prevention of surgical complications. But when it came to managing pain, communicating about medications and coordinating discharges, hospitals are failing, according to Harvard School of Public Health researchers who analyzed the patient-satisfaction data collected by the federal government in its Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, or HCAHPS, survey.
The Harvard researchers linked HCAHPS data to the American Hospital Associations annual survey that measures several factors including nurse-staffing levels, profit status and census region. The HCAHPS data reflect care delivered from July 2006 to June 2007, with 2,429 hospitals reporting patient-satisfaction data. The Commonwealth Fund sponsored the Harvard research for the study.
Hospitals that have more nurses at the bedside received better ratings from patients, the researchers said in the study. Based on the linked data from the AHA, the ratio of nurses to patient-days was a predictor of a hospitals performance in HCAHPS resultsthose hospitals likely had higher ratings on pain control, medication communication and discharge, as well, the researchers said. -- by Jean DerGurahian
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