Can patients reliably identify safe, high quality care?

Sarah E. Tevis, Ryan K. Schmocker, Gregory D. Kennedy


The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey is a publicly reported tool that measures patient satisfaction. As both patients and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement rely on survey results as a metric of quality of care, we reviewed the current literature to determine if patient satisfaction correlates with quality, safety, or patient outcomes. We found varying associations between safety culture, process of care measure compliance, and patient outcomes with patient satisfaction on the HCAHPS survey. Some studies found inverse relationships between quality and safety metrics and patient satisfaction. The measure that most reliably correlated with high patient satisfaction was low readmission rate. Future studies using patient specific data are needed to better identify which factors most influence patient satisfaction and to determine if patient satisfaction is a marker of safer and better quality care. Furthermore, the HCAHPS survey should continue to undergo evaluations to assure it generates predictable results.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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