Pain control tied to patient satisfaction

Postsurgical pain evaluations correlate with overall patient satisfaction scores during hospital stays, according to a new study presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine's 30th Annual Meeting.

Researchers, led by Dermot Maher, M.D., of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, analyzed Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey responses from 2,933 surgical patients hospitalized in a trauma center between March 2012 and February 2013. 

"Patients consider a number of factors when evaluating physicians and hospitals. One of the most influential factors is a patient's perception of pain," Maher said in the research announcement. "The universal unpleasantness and complicated nature of pain, especially in the post-operative setting, has the potential to negatively impact overall satisfaction if not optimally managed."

Pain scores and HCAHPS responses correlated far more closely for spinal surgery, non-spine orthopedics, and obstetrics and gynecology patients than other surgical patients, according to the announcement. These findings suggest patient satisfaction surveys, or more specifically their pain components, are not universally applicable enough to determine hospital reimbursements, Maher said.

The study results also suggest hospitals should explore anesthetic techniques that will improve their overall patient satisfaction (such as regional vs. general anesthesia), as well as preadmission, postoperative and intraoperative interventions, according to Maher.

Research conducted last year found that patient experience surveys can serve as a template for low-performing hospitals, as well as determine which care delivery areas should be their top priority, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the study announcement (.pdf)