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Hospital ratings often depend more on nice rooms than on health care

A study of 50,000 patients throughout the United States showed that those who were the most satisfied with their care (the top quartile) were 26% more likely to be dead six months later than patients who gave lower ratings to their care.

The study, “The Cost of Satisfaction,” appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The researchers looked at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) hospital data and patient surveys at more than 3,000 US hospitals over three years. The hospitals where fewer patients died had only a 2% point edge in patient satisfaction over the others.

Cristobal Young, associate professor of sociology at Cornell University and lead author of the study, calls it “the halo effect of hospitality.” Young found that what mattered most to patients in ratings were the compassion of nurses and amenities like good food and quiet rooms. It’s why hospital managers are being recruited from the service industry and we’re seeing greeters in the lobby and premium TV channels in rooms, he says.

Patients tend to value what they see and understand, but that can be limited, Young continues. They give hospitals good cleanliness ratings when they observe waste baskets are emptied and sheets are changed. “They can’t see a virus or tell you how clean the room is in ways that matter,” he says.

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Source: 4 July 2020, Washington Post


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