Patients Recognize Quality

Feb 14, 2011

Roy Perry, 1950

A new study from Duke researchers finds patients really do know a good hospital when they're in one.

There's been a push to create ways to rate the care hospitals deliver. CMS, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has come up with clinical measures of the quality of patient care. You can find those on the Hospital Compare website. Now some Duke researchers find patients satisfaction scores do as good a job of rating which hospitals deliver high quality.

They compared patient satisfaction ratings with data from CMS and found patients valued communication with doctors and nurses much more than how cushy the hospital rooms might be.  And it turns out that hospitals that communicated with patients well also have better clinical outcomes, for instance, they re-admit patients for the same problem less frequently.  Some have criticized patient satisfaction ratings as too subjective, saying patients focus too much on superficial things. But the Duke group says that's not true.

Hospital Compare website

Link to the study: American Journal of Managed Care