facebook A high hospital satisfaction rating does not mean better care

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A high hospital satisfaction rating does not mean better care

Non-profit hospitals substancial profitsYou would think choosing a hospital that enjoys a high satisfaction rating would mean you are more likely to receive top-notch health care.

That is not always the case.

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that patients in the United States who were the most satisfied with their care were 26 percent more likely to die within six months, compared with patients who gave their hospitals lower ratings for their care.

In addition to higher death rates, the most satisfied patients also accrued higher costs for their visits. Additional research published this year found that a patient’s hospital recommendation had no correlation to the quality of medical care or patient survival rate.

Cristobal Young, associate professor of sociology at Cornell University and lead author of the new study published in JAMA, found that patient ratings were more affected by hospitality than quality of care.

“They can’t see a virus or tell you how clean the room is in ways that matter,” Young said in a Washington Post article. Instead, patients give hospitals good cleanliness ratings when they observe waste baskets are emptied and sheets are changed.

Furthermore, patients tended to be more satisfied with care if they received more medical interventions, treatments and hospitalizations. However, this satisfaction and increased medical care also corresponds with a higher death rate and larger hospital bills. Every additional surgery, procedure or medication increases your likelihood of being worse off, according to the Washington Post.

Higher satisfaction ratings have a payoff, too. Hospitals and medical practices are rewarded with higher compensation, promotions and bonuses. Unfortunately for patients, the actions hospitals take to keep patients happy can run counter to best medical practices for their overall health.

Do you think hospitals should pursue higher patient satisfaction ratings if it means jeopardizing the patient’s health? Share your voice.