HCAHPS Scores Show Wide Variation

Cheryl Clark, May 30, 2012

By one measure of quality, 52-bed Westlake Regional Hospital in Columbia, KY seems to have more patients who are extremely pleased with their care than any other hospital in the country that garnered 300 or more responses to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

That is, 98% of Westlake's patients said they would definitely recommend the hospital to family and friends and only 1% said they would probably or definitely not recommend Westlake, according to the May 17 update on the federal government's Hospital Compare web site.

That's much higher than the 70% national average and the 70% that  Kentucky averages for patients responding to the question.

Some argue that responses to the "would you recommend" questions are not the best to gauge the quality of a patient's experience; that responses are influenced more by a hospital's community reputation rather than how a specific patient perceived his or her treatment.

Better measures of patients' perceived experiences might be found in their replies to other questions, such as whether doctors or nurses communicated well with them during their stay and how their pain was prevented.

That may be so, but by all other measures on the HCAHPS survey, Westlake scored exceptionally high.

For example:

  • 82% gave it the highest ranking of 9 or 10;
  • 96% said the room was always clean;
  • 98% of doctors and 100% of nurses "always" communicated well with their patients;
  • 97% said their pain was always well-controlled


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