More spending not equal to more patient satisfaction

As hospitals try to boost Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) satisfaction scores, they should take note of new research that shows that spending more money does not mean better scores.

Penn State researchers found that it's not the amount of money hospitals spend but rather the way that money is spent that has more impact on their patients' satisfaction with facilities and services.

"Our results suggest that value is derived from efficiency of performance, and not just overall expenditures," said lead researcher Deirdre McCaughey, assistant professor of health policy and administration, in a statement.

The findings suggest that hospitals shouldn't count on increased spending on environmental services, such as cleaning and maintenance, to boost satisfaction scores.

Instead, they should create a "balanced value equation" and invest financial resources into the most efficient policies and procedures to gain value. It is that value which will influence HCAHPS scores, which in turn determine hospitals' Medicare reimbursements.

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