For the first time, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has posted consumer survey information on its Hospital Compare Web site (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) that attempts to capture the experiences of a patients in a hospital. It is a unique attempt by the government to evaluate hospital care from the perspective of the patient.
Unfortunately for Long Islanders, on average, Long Island hospitals scored lower in patient satisfaction in eight out of 10 measures compared with other hospitals statewide or nationally. The Island’s largest health system, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, did not fare well on the survey. Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park scored below the state and national average in all 10 areas.
North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset scored below the state and national average in 8 out of 10 measures. Other North Shore-LIJ hospitals also scored below the state and national average, including Plainview Hospital (all 10 measures); Southside Hospital (nine measures); Franklin Hospital Medical Center (nine measures); and Glen Cove Hospital (seven measures).
The Hospital Compare website was created to establish a national standard for collecting or publicly reporting information that would enable valid comparisons to be made across all hospitals. Hospital Compare uses data collected from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey. The intent of the HCAHPS initiative is to provide a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients’ perspectives on hospital care.
HCAHPS is a core set of questions that can be combined with customized, hospital-specific items to produce information that complements the data hospitals currently collect to support internal customer service and quality-related activities. The HCAHPS survey is composed of 27 items: 18 substantive items that encompass critical aspects of the hospital experience (communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, cleanliness and quietness of hospital environment, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, overall rating of hospital, and recommendation of hospital); four items to skip patients to appropriate questions; three items to adjust for the mix of patients across hospitals; and two items to support congressionally-mandated reports.
Three broad goals have shaped the HCAHPS survey. First, the survey is designed to produce comparable data on patients’ perspectives of care that allows objective and meaningful comparisons among hospitals on topics that are important to consumers. Second, public reporting of the survey results is designed to create incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care. Third, public reporting will serve to enhance public accountability in health care by increasing the transparency of the quality of hospital care provided in return for the public investment.
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