New England Journal of Medicine article discusses value of patient surveys
Chances are you've filled one out. Many health care providers routinely ask patients to complete surveys after medical treatment. But, there is a belief among some in health care that patient feedback is not credible because they do not have medical training.
Fuqua Dean Bill Boulding and Professor Richard Staelintogether with Ph.D. candidate Matthew Manary and Seth Glickman from UNC's School of Medicine analyzed research to determine the value of patient surveys. They found that hospitals that score higher on patient satisfaction tend to have lower mortality and readmission rates and that these satisfaction scores provide additional information beyond clinical performance data in terms of determining the hospital's quality of care. The research group outlined several points to be considered in designing and administering patient surveys:
1. The survey should focus on a specific visit. Surveys assessing care over a long period of time are less reliable.
2. The survey should focus on patient and provider interactions. Patients are most credible in evaluating the interactions they have with doctors and other medical staff.
3. The survey should be timely and not delayed until well after the medical experience.
4. The survey results should be adjusted for risks.
5. Currently, there is no common way to define "patient satisfaction."
The authors conclude, "The focus shouldn't be on if patient feedback is valuable, but rather on how to improve the patient experience by considering both satisfaction and outcomes."
The paper was published on December 26th in The New England Journal of Medicine.