Background: A means of measuring patient satisfaction is essential in the effort to improve the quality of health care delivered in our nation's hospitals. Accurate feedback allows employers to better meet patients' needs and allows hospital administrators to improve service delivery. Patients are empowered by having a voice in the manner in which their health care is delivered. Moreover, improving the efficiency of the health care delivery system decreases health care costs. Hospital comparisons can be made readily available to a large audience through the Internet, resulting in empowerment of the patient and a universal improvement in hospital care. This is the first multi-institutional analysis of patient satisfaction among New York City and northern New Jersey area tertiary care hospitals. In this study, we evaluated the patient-assessed hotel function of hospitals in a single geographic region to determine whether clinically and statistically significant differences would be revealed that could provide beneficial information to stakeholders in the healthcare system. Methods: Patients (n = 261) who had spent a night during the past year in one of eleven hospitals within 60 miles of New York City were chosen at random from doctors' waiting rooms. On average, 24 patients from each hospital were surveyed. They were asked to complete a questionnaire that rated the various departments in the hospital on qualities such as courtesy, promptness, and cleanliness. The questionnaire also rated important characteristics of the patient experience, such as the ease of parking and the taste of the food. Each item on the survey was coded on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most positive response. The 26 specific questions were divided into 14 domains. Averages in each domain were compared by gender, age, and hospital identity, attractiveness, and setting. All statistical calculations were performed using SPSS/PC, and means were compared using t-tests. Results: Analysis designed to evaluate outcomes between each of the possible 54 pairs of hospitals comparisons revealed statistically significant differences as often as 44% of the time in some outcomes measures (logistics), but as rarely as 7% of the time in others (billing function). Clinically significant differences (>2 units per scale) were frequently evident, although the ranges differed dramatically depending on the domains surveyed. Although age, gender, and race/ethnicity were generally not predictive of satisfaction, non-urban setting was correlated with greater patient satisfaction. Conclusion: By having access to patient satisfaction comparisons among hospitals, patients are empowered to make better choices, employers can identify and adapt to patient preferences, and administrators can improve the services delivered and decrease health care costs by improving efficiency. Although our study was somewhat limited by patient selection biases, the study's results suggest that Internet-based tools of comparison will enable patients to make free and informed decisions about their health care by comparing local hospitals and voting on their impressions of the facilities from which they receive care.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Heart Surgery Forum|
|State||Published - 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine