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Many patients aren't happy with their hospital experience. In a national survey they rated many hospitals poorly in key areas of care, especially pain management and discharge instructions. Even so, 68% of patients said they'd recommend the hospital where they received care to others.


Hospitals that had a higher nurse-patient ratio received higher ratings, which suggested to researchers that "the same characteristics of hospitals that lead to high nurse-staffing levels may be associated with better experiences for patients." Also, patients who were treated in hospitals that offer higher quality care said they had a more satisfying experience. These hospitals excelled in care for cardiac conditions, pneumonia, and prevention of surgical complications. Nonprofit hospitals received higher marks from patients than for-profit hospitals.


The findings were based on a review of data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey. This data included information from 2,429 hospitals, or about 60% of all U.S. hospitals.


Source: Jha AK, Orav EJ, Zheng J, Epstein AM. Patients' perception of hospital care in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2008; 359(18):1921-1931.