Perception Of Care May Not Correlate With Quality

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Healthcare Quality

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you or anyone in your family has been hospitalized in the past six years, chances are that you received a request to complete a survey from the hospital asking for your perspectives on the care and service you received while in the hospital.

The standardized survey, which is generally called “HCAHPS” (pronounced H-caps) and stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems was implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2006.

CMS’ objective was to produce data that allows objective and meaningful comparisons of hospitals on topics that are thought to be important to consumers, and through public reporting of results create new incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care and enhance healthcare accountability.

The article from KaiserHealthNews.org excerpted below reports on research out of Johns Hopkins and published in JAMA Surgery that found that scores on patient satisfaction surveys like HCAHPS did not appear to accurately reflect hospital surgical care quality and safety.

Based on my experience during 27 years of clinical practice and 10 years as a physician executive focused on quality and safety, I am of the opinion that, although global patient satisfaction survey results may not correlate directly with specific measured quality process and outcome data, a hospital whose number one priority is to best meet the needs of their patients by nurturing a culture of service and safety also usually delivers the highest quality care.

KAISERHEALTHNEWS.ORG–You may have found your doctor to be a great communicator, your hospital room clean and quiet and your pain well controlled. Yet a study finds these opinions are not barometers of whether your hospital’s surgical care is any good.

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Research out of Johns Hopkins shows that scores on HCAHPS, the CMS developed and implemented patient satisfaction survey, may not correlate with performance on quality scores that measure surgery “best-practice” process compliance and outcomes.

The study, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University medical and public health schools, looked at patient satisfaction and surgical quality measures at 31 urban hospitals in 10 states. Patient satisfaction was determined by the results of standard Medicare surveys given to patients after they left the hospital.   Quality was judged by how consistently surgeons and nurses followed recommended standards of care, such as giving antibiotics at the right time and taking precautionary steps to avert blood clots. The researchers also looked at how hospital employees evaluated safety attitudes at their hospital.

The researchers found little relationship between a hospital’s patient satisfaction scores and most quality ratings. “At present, little evidence supports its ability to predict the quality of surgical care,” Heather Lyu, Dr. Martin Makary and the other researchers wrote in JAMA Surgery.

Makary said that while patient satisfaction scores are a valuable component of evaluating a hospital, they are getting excessive attention because they are among the few quality measures available to the public. “It’s going to mislead patients because they’re going to think the hospital with the best lobby and the best parking and customer service is going to have the best heart surgery,” he said in an interview.

CLICK  HERE to read the complete story on KaiserHealthNews.org.


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