Providers were asked in a 32-question survey, “Do you routinely ask your patients about their expectations regarding the hospitalization?” Only 16% said yes (20% of nurses, 12% of doctors), even though 89% said it was important to do so. Not surprisingly, 89% of respondents said clinician awareness of patient expectations was moderate to low.
Nationality made a difference, but no country’s providers came close to having a majority asking patients about their expectations. In Denmark, 31% of the respondents said they did, followed by the U.S. with 16%; U.K., 13%; and Israel, 7%.
The researchers wrote that Danish clinicians appeared to be “significantly more aware and better skilled at managing patients' expectations” than the doctors and nurses surveyed in the other countries.
“During the past decade, patient satisfaction has become an integral part of the Danish healthcare system aiming to improve the quality of care,” the authors wrote. “Although the differences between countries may reflect general cultural differences, we believe that health policy in Denmark played a key role in motivating hospital management to conduct patient-satisfaction improvement programs, and concomitantly increased awareness and improved clinicians' competence in managing patient expectations.”
The researchers concluded that their study revealed a “blind spot” in attempts to improve patient satisfaction.