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Is There a Relationship Between Patient Satisfaction and Favorable Outcomes?

by Kennedy, G.D., Tevis, S.E., & Ken, K.C.

Low mortality index was consistently found to be associated with high satisfaction across 9 of 10 HCAHPS domains.

Objective

Patient satisfaction with the health care experience has become a top priority for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. With resources and efforts directed at patient satisfaction, we evaluated whether high patient satisfaction measured by HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) surveys correlates with favorable outcomes.

Methods

Medical centers were identified from the University Health-System Consortium database from 2011 to 2012. Variables included hospiratl characteristics, process measure compliance, and surgical outcomes. Chi-squared analysis was used to evaluate for variables associated with high patient satisfaction (defined as hospitals that scored above the 50th percentile of top box scores).

Results

We identified 171 hospitals with complete data. The following variables were significantly associated with high overall patient satisfaction: large hospitals, high surgical volume, and low mortality (P < 0.001). Compliance with process measures and patient safety indicators, as well as length of stay, did not correlate with overall satisfaction. The presence of complications (P = 0.491) or increased rate of readmission (P = 0.056) were not found to affect patient satisfaction. Low mortality index was consistently found to be associated with high satisfaction across 9 of 10 HCAHPS domains.

Conclusions

We found that hospital size, surgical volume, and low mortality were associated with high overall patient satisfaction. However, with the exception of low mortality, favorable surgical outcomes were not consistently associated with high HCAHPS scores. With existing satisfaction surveys, we conclude that factors outside of surgical outcomes appear to influence patients' perceptions of their care.

Annals of Surgery, 32(7):1299-1305 - 2014