The patient satisfaction chasm

March 1, 2013, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Quality is a central component of any discussion around health care and one of the key dimensions and measurements of quality care is the patient experience. However, many healthcare organizations struggle to become 'patient focused' and fail to score well on patient satisfaction surveys. New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital, published in the March edition of British Medical Journal Quality and Safety, offers a potential explanation—insufficient support from hospital management to improve the patient experience by engaging physicians and nurses in the process.

"Twelve years after the Institute of Medicine's Quality Chasm report called for fundamental improvement to patient-centered care, our findings raise concern as to whether hospital management is actively engaging clinicians in enhancing ," said Ronen Rozenblum, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and a in the Center of Patient Safety Research & Practice at BWH.

The research findings are based on a survey of 1004 physicians and at four academic hospitals in Denmark, Israel, the UK and the United States. Results indicate that despite expanding initiatives, and the belief of most healthcare organizations that patient experience and satisfaction is important, the majority do not have a structured plan for how frontline providers can improve patient satisfaction during hospitalization.

Specifically researchers report that while 90.4 percent of clinicians surveyed believed improving patient satisfaction during hospitalization was achievable, only 9.2 percent of the clinicians said their department had a structured plan for improving patient satisfaction during hospitalization. Additionally researchers found that of the clinicians surveyed:

  • 38 percent remembered targeted actions that were conducted in their department in order to improve patient satisfaction.
  • 34 percent stated that during the last twelve months they had received feedback from hospital management regarding the level of patient satisfaction in their department.
  • 85 percent thought hospital management should take a more active role in patient satisfaction improvement programs.
  • 83 percent believed achieving high level of patient satisfaction was important for the clinical success of healthcare organizations.
"Organizations that are successful in fostering a culture of patient-centered care have incorporated it as a strategic investment priority by committed leadership, active measurement, feedback of patient satisfaction and engagement of patients and staff," said David Bates, MD, Chief Quality Officer at BWH and senior author of the paper. "We, in healthcare organizations, need to take a more active role in developing and implementing programs to improve patient experience and satisfaction and also in identifying ways to engage frontline in this process as well as ensuring they get routine feedback about patient experience and satisfaction. Ultimately, the patient experience is at the bedside."

Now that this chasm has been identified and defined, Drs. Bates and Rozenblum are working to address it. They created a framework for a patient experience culture and have begun to take the next steps to test and implement this structured patient satisfaction model.

Rozenblum said, "In order to improve, we need a systematic approach that starts at the bedside and grows up through hospital management levels to policy makers, all of whom should be committed to shifting healthcare organizations toward a culture of patient experience by making a strategic investment priority."

Explore further: Uncovering the blind spot of patient satisfaction and patient expectations: An international survey

Related Stories

Uncovering the blind spot of patient satisfaction and patient expectations: An international survey

October 25, 2011
Patient satisfaction is increasingly recognized as an important component of quality of care. To achieve a high level of patient satisfaction, providers need to identify and address patients' expectations. However, a new ...

Talking about faith increases hospital patients' overall satisfaction

July 13, 2011
Hospitalized patients who had conversations about religion and spirituality with the healthcare team were the most satisfied with their overall care. However, 20 percent of patients who would have valued these discussions ...

Researchers identify predictors for inpatient pain

September 21, 2012
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified reliable predictors of pain by surveying patients throughout their hospital stays about the severity of their pain and their levels of satisfaction with how ...

Six sigma techniques improve operating room patient flow

July 1, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Adoption of strategies such as Six Sigma methodology in hospital operating rooms (ORs) leads to improvements in patient flow and employee engagement, according to a study published in the July issue of the ...

New Avalere study IDs 5 key practices that lead to successful hospital-to-home transitions

April 24, 2012
Community health plans are improving how patients transition from hospital to home by breaking down silos of care, coordinating among providers, and directly engaging with patients, according to a new report entitled Transitions ...

Recommended for you

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.