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Patient Experience Scores Skew by Region, Providers Say

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 18, 2011

Indeed, New York hospitals are very concerned about the 30%. "We believe that even 20% is far too high," says Vincent Fitts, associate vice president of informatics for the Greater New York Hospital Association.

"Wholly separate from the apparent regional bias in HCAHPS results and the fact that large urban hospitals generally fare worse, the current formula penalizes hospitals that treat a higher-than-average percentage of patients for whom English is a secondary language – even though they tend to express satisfaction with their care," Fitts says.

"We simply don't think HCAHPS scores accurately reflect patient experience in the New York metropolitan area."

The American Hospital Association has also weighed in. "We are still evaluating the proposal, but our first reaction is that 30% seems to be a bit high for the HCAHPS proportion," says Marie Watteau, AHA spokeswoman.

In addition to a so-called "grumpiness" variable, Press Ganey surveys indicate that size is a factor in patient responses. Patients in the smallest hospitals, those with 50 or fewer beds, are the most likely to recommend their care (73%), perhaps out of community loyalty and because they know their caregivers personally, while patients in hospitals with 600 or more second most likely to recommend. Hospitals with 150-299 beds have patients least likely to recommend, 66%.

Based on a separate category addressing the patient's communication with nurses, the Press Ganey survey found that patients in hospitals with 50 or fewer beds are also most likely to be pleased with their care enough to recommend the hospital.

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8 comments on "Patient Experience Scores Skew by Region, Providers Say"


R Daniel King (1/20/2011 at 7:47 AM)
Presently, hospital organizational culture thrives in two environments: political or accountable. The majority function in a political environment where leadership chooses the politically protected and politically isolated creating a win/lose polarizing environment that fosters dependency and mistrust that leads to failure in patient and financial outcomes. In an environment of accountability everyone is accountable, starting with leadership, creating a win/win innovative environment that fosters interdependency and trust that leads to excellence in patient and financial outcomes. Simply stated, it's the culture stupid, and the dominance of the win/lose political environment where hospital departments function as bunkers where the politically protected fight and scheme to preserve the status quo and the politically isolated struggle and mostly fail to inject excellence. This environment is why hospitals have almost as many annual preventable deaths as all of World War II. That fact alone sums up the patient experience and the only way to lower it is the hospital industry realize it has a leadership chasm that has led to a quality chasm that is unaffordable thanks to the decades of command and control self-serving regulations inflicted by CMS. Until the federal government and hospital leadership accept this fact, because cultural change starts with leadership, the nation's health care delivery system will remain operationally inefficient and quality challenged on a path to economic Armageddon. And nothing in the present design of ObamaCare will deter this ending, if anything it will accelerate it.

Michael Krivich, FACHE, PCM (1/19/2011 at 1:43 PM)
As difficult as this appears to be, providers need to begin looking outside of themselves and using Customer Experience Management to solve this challenege. Individuals are only "patients" 1/3rd of the time you interact with them. The other 2/3rds of the time they are customers. CEM requires the organization to manage the individuals experience across all touch-points beginning to end. Only then when you are actively managing customer experiences and meeting expectations, will you be able to improve satisfaction, revenue and market share. It is not impossible if you apply innovation, creativity and learnings from other industries.

Micahel Krivich (1/19/2011 at 1:29 PM)
It's time for the healthcare industry, namely hospitals and health system to manage customer experiences though customer experience management programs. More than just the "patient" experience, it forces the organzation to understand and manage those experiences enhancing that experience. CEM leads to higher quality, lower cost, increased revenue and market share. It forces an organzation to look outside-in instead of inside-out based on the view of their customers. Individuals aree only patienst in only 1/3rd of the time you interact with them. The other 2/3rds of the time they are consumers. So maybe its time to start lisening to them and using that to drive change.