Patients question hospital quality performance on key issues

Now here's some data that gives with one hand and takes with the other. On the one hand, patients are apparently giving high approval ratings to hospitals. On the other, the same patient satisfaction data suggests that they feel facilities aren't doing well on some basic quality issues, according to a new study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers concluded that patients were satisfied that they were getting high-quality care for the four conditions measured by the study, which included acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and prevention of surgical complications.

On the other hand, patients weren't nearly as satisfied with the way hospitals managed pain, communicated about meds or coordinated discharges, according to the researchers, who reviewed data collected by CMS's Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, or HCAHPS. The HCAHPS data was cross-referenced with data from the American Hospital Association's annual survey.

All told, hospitals that had more nurses at the bedside received better ratings from patients. Also, the researchers found that the ratio of nurses to patient-days was a predictor of a hospital's performance in HCAHPS results. Specifically, those were the hospitals whose performance on pain control, medication communication and discharge were best.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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