Hospital Survey Links Nursing Staff to Patient Ratings

Also, hospitals with high patient satisfaction provide somewhat higher-quality clinical care

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Patients report somewhat better experiences in hospitals with higher nurse-to-patient-day ratios, and patient ratings indicate that hospitals have ample room for improvement, according to research published in the Oct. 30 New England Journal of Medicine.

Ashish K. Jha, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues analyzed data from a Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, which included reports from more than 2,400 hospitals and reflected care delivered to patients from July 2006 to June 2007.

On average, 63 percent of patients felt their care deserved a high -- 9 or 10 -- global rating, and 67 percent reported that they would definitely recommend the hospital where they received care. Hospitals in the top quartile of the ratio of nurses to patient-days had a somewhat better performance on the survey than those in the bottom quartile, with 65.9 and 60.5 percent of patients giving a 9 or 10 global rating, respectively.

"It is clear that the performance of hospitals is variable and that there are plentiful opportunities for improvement. Public release of data on clinical performance has previously prompted improvements in the quality of clinical care in hospitals. We are hopeful that regular reporting of performance on patient-reported measures of quality will catalyze similar improvements in patient-centered care," the authors conclude.

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