Study: Response to complaints top patient concern

A new study has concluded that patients' take on a hospital is most influenced by the staff's ability to address their concerns and complaints, an area in which there is definitely room for improvement, researchers said. The study, by healthcare satisfaction measurement consultant Press Ganey, surveyed 2.2 million hospital patients nationwide. It identified several factors that have an impact on how patients feel about their hospital visit, including the staff's effort to include them in medical decision-making, nurses' skill and attitude toward patient requests, amount of attention paid to a patient's special needs and nurse friendliness/courtesy. But staff response to concerns and complaints topped the list. Hospitals are doing well in this area, but for the second year it a row, patients named this as the area most in need of improvement, Press Ganey said. These results just make sense: When people are sick and scared, good communication makes all of the difference in the world. But unfortunately, institutionalizing sensitivity and warmth isn't easy. Clearly, hospitals still have some work to do in this area.

For more background on the study:
- see this release