Better communication translates to better patient safety, satisfaction

Providers who communicate well also do a better job at keeping their patients safe, suggests new research from HealthGrades. Researchers found that hospitals with the highest patient ratings in physician and nursing communications have fewer patient safety events, such as surgical inpatient deaths with treatable complications, pressure ulcers and post-operative respiratory failure and sepsis.

Conversely, hospitals that perform in the bottom 10 percent for physician communication saw 15 percent more patient safety events, compared to the top 10 percent. The risk in patient safety events was even higher with poor nurse communication. Twenty-seven percent more overall patient safety events occurred in hospitals performing in the bottom 10 percent for nursing communication, compared to the top 10 percentile.

For example, catheter-related bloodstream infections occurred about 56% more frequently in hospitals with poor nursing or physician communication.

Thirteen percent more patients who rank hospitals in the top 10 percent in satisfaction said they received instructions on what to do when they left the hospitals, compared to the bottom performers.

The data point to a link between provider communication and patient safety.

"We have reached a point where Americans must acknowledge the connection between communicating with their healthcare provider and their own safety and satisfaction as patients," study author Kristin Reed, HealthGrades vice president of clinical quality programs, said in a statement.

Based on its review of 2008 to 2010 of 40 million Medicare hospitalizations in 5,000 hospitals, HealthGrades estimates 254,000 patient safety events among Medicare patients could have been prevented.

For more information:
- here's the announcement
- see the report (.pdf)

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