Patient emotions linked to hospital satisfaction

Patients who feel well and think their health is improving have more positive feelings about their hospital stay than those who don't, according to a Gallup World Poll.

Those emotions significantly affect how patients rate their hospital stay in the federally mandated Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, the Gallup Business Journal reported. As the article noted, HCAHPS scores are reported publicly and can impact Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

Gallup researchers found that 82 percent of former patients who considered their health excellent gave their hospitals a 9 or 10 in overall quality. But only 64 percent of those who rated their health as fair, and 59 percent who said their health was poor, gave high scores to their hospitals.

About 25 percent of patients viewed their health as fair or poor, so "this group represents a significant opportunity for a hospital to increase its overall score," according to Gallup.

Indeed, researchers found that emotions accounted for 46 percent of the variance in how patients viewed their health, the article noted, representing a bigger impact than "hunger, homelessness and threats to safety."

One way hospitals can identify ways to improve the patient experienc is to use sentiment analysis to analyze the emotional state of patients writing comments on satisfaction surveys.

Sentiment analysis software can pinpoint the people, places and processes that produce positive or negative emotions. It also can classify patient comments into HCAHPS categories to better understand factors negatively affecting Medicare reimbursement.

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