Adding patient satisfaction to the pool of publicly reported hospital data

If you haven’Â’t done so already, check out Hospital Compare, the CMS website where you can get up to date information on a variety of quality measures on thousands of US hospitals. The site is user friendly and you can compare hospitals with one another and with US and state benchmarks. Since the site was launched less than a year ago, additional hospitals and quality measures have been added.

The measures are imperfect and incomplete, but it’s an excellent start. As a recent study in Health Affairs showed, public reporting of quality information is very effective in getting hospitals to make improvements. You don’Â’t even need pay for performance to get hospitals going. They’ll make improvements due to professional pride, to support their fundraising efforts, and to attract consumers and health plans.

Clinical measures matter a lot. But customer service is also important, and it’Â’s starting to be measured and reported. CMS has given final approval to a 27-question customer experience survey that will be administered starting this year and reported on Hospital Compare for the first time in 2007. There are six categories of questions:

  • Your care from nurses (e.g., were you listened to, were you treated with courtesy and respect)
  • Your care from doctors (e.g., did doctors explain things so you could understand)
  • The hospital environment (e.g., was the bathroom clean, was it quiet)
  • Your experiences in this hospital (e.g., was your pain controlled, were you told about the purpose of new medicines)
  • When you left the hospital (e.g., did you get written discharge instructions)
  • Overall rating of the hospital (e.g., would you recommend the hospital to others)

You can view the survey here.

January 12, 2006

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