New report sheds light on link between hospitals, women's healthcare

Hospital administrators that want to strengthen their organizations' relationships with female patients should emphasize care quality and outcomes, which women tend to prioritize over cost, according to a new report from Healthgrades.

Healthgrades surveyed more than 1,100 women of varying ages and demographics about the hospital care they receive and how they make healthcare decisions throughout their lives. The survey found that women:

  • Typically consult three or more sources (such as their doctors, the Internet, and family or friends) when evaluating or selecting their providers

  • Prioritize the "level of influence these resources have in the decision-making according to their age and specific health need"

  • Value the quality outcome of a surgical procedure more than out-of-pocket costs or the distance to a provider

  • Consider the doctor or hospital quality more important than whether insurance will cover a necessary procedure

Overall, the report states, care quality and outcomes are major factors in women's long-term relationships with hospitals and providers, and hospitals should emphasize those aspects when communicating with and educating female patients.

The report also analyzed hospitals' maternity care quality specifically, as maternity care is many women's first experience choosing a hospital for their healthcare needs. From 2010 to 2012, according to the report, patients at hospitals with five-star maternity care ratings had a 54.4 percent lower risk of complications during normal deliveries than those with one-star ratings, and a 77.6 percent lower risk of complications during cesarean sections.

Asked about how they assessed healthcare providers, including hospitals, when choosing where to have gynecologic surgery, nearly 60 percent of women said they based their decision on what other providers recommended, according to the report.

 "An opportunity exists for hospitals to inform their healthcare professionals and partners about the quality of the hospital," the report states. "By doing so, hospitals can influence the choices of women with regard to where they choose to have gynecologic surgery."

"The results of the 2014 report and related research underscore the importance of providing high-quality care during all phases of a woman's life," Healthgrades Chief Strategy Office Evan Marks said in a statement

To learn more:
- here's the report (.pdf)
- read the statement