Patients tell us what they want, what they really, really want
And what they want is open communication and a comfortable hospital environment. During these stressful times, wishing to be fully informed and placed in a relaxed setting should not be too much to ask. Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, used feedback that Johns Hopkins Hospital had collected to see what are the components that influence patient satisfaction with a hospital. From praises to criticisms, he outlines what are important to patients in an article published in US News & World Report on ‘The Patient Wish List.’
At a glance, you can see that these requests are simple. There are no requests for room service, a hot bath, or to have a story read to them at bed time (for the older patients at least). Hospital patients simply want to have a good night’s rest without being woken up for vitals at 3am, unless it is critical to their health. Since they are guests at a hospital, it is no wonder they would not want their personal belongings to disappear or have someone burst through the doors before a knock of warning.
While Pronovost compiled the Patient Wish List in October 2015, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction surveys have been in place since 2006. The purpose of HCAHPS is for hospitals and patients to get a better sense of healthcare satisfaction from the patient’s perspective. Discharged patients are asked to fill out this survey containing 27 questions about their experience from their hospital stay. The responses are summarized into 11 easy-to-understand categories, such as noise levels, each with a star rating. These surveys increase the transparency of quality of care, and therefore provide an incentive for hospitals to improve the quality of care they offer.
When looking at the items on the Patient Wish List versus those highlighted in the HCAHPS Patient Satisfaction Measures, we do see some overlap between the two. The Patient Wish List is geared towards open communication and comfort level and some of the Patient Satisfaction Measures in the HCAHPS are correlated with those demands. The below chart, based on Definitive Healthcare data, shows how hospitals on average rated in terms of communication and hospital environment:
Needless to say, it is important for the patient to fully understand the type of care they are receiving. One other major point in determining patient satisfaction is the experience in staying in the hospital room itself. The measures on cleanliness and noise levels can be a great determinant for what kind of environment the hospital maintains. It appears that HCAHPS is conscious about these two key factors of patient experience. All of these measures are combined for a hospital’s Summary Star Rating which allows a quick and easy assessment of the patient experience at a particular hospital.
CMS has ventured in the right direction when assessing the patient experience by honing in on keeping open communication. A few items on the Patient Wish List let us know that in addition to valuing open communication, patients are also looking for a comfortable room and to “treat them as a person, with caring and empathy,” as the Chief Patient Experience Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine says. It is no surprise that patients want their doctors to be open about their condition and to have a clean bathroom, but interestingly enough, they simply wish to be treated with respect. Keeping track of a patient’s personal belongings, knocking on the door before entering, and orienting the patient to the room and hospital are simple acts that may go a long way in the eyes of the patient when being surveyed about his/her experience, and ultimately the quality of care at a particular facility.
Definitive Healthcare has the most up-to-date, comprehensive and integrated data on hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. Our hospital database tracks nearly 7,600 US hospitals and includes HCAHPS scores and other quality metrics.