Patient Satisfaction Scores for Hospitals Driven by Hospitality

Patient satisfaction scores do not reflect the quality of medical care, but rather room and board features

THURSDAY, Feb. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Measures of hospitality, not medical care, actually drive patient satisfaction scores for hospital care, according to research published online Feb. 13 in Special Forces.

Cristobal Young, Ph.D., from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Xinxiang Chen, Ph.D., from the Minzu University of Beijing, evaluated Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services data on patient satisfaction, technical medical quality, patient safety, and hospitality aspects of care from 3,180 hospitals (65 percent of U.S. acute care/critical access hospitals; July 2007 to June 2010).

The researchers found that neither medical quality nor patient survival rates have much impact on patient satisfaction with their hospital. However, patients are very sensitive to the highly visible "room and board" aspects of care. Patient satisfaction is more determined by quiet rooms than medical quality. Similarly, communication with nurses affects satisfaction far more than the hospital-level risk for dying. In areas where hospitals face greater competition, patient satisfaction is higher but medical quality is lower.

"The No. 1 thing that ultimately matters to patients -- are you going to survive your operation? Can they fix you? -- does not really factor into patient satisfaction scores," Young said in a statement. "There's very little awareness that these are essentially Yelp reviews."

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