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U.S. Hospitals Lag in Patient Satisfaction
Date:10/29/2008

reported patients' experience. That's 60.2 percent of all U.S. hospitals.

The researchers found that 67.4 percent of the patients said they would recommend the hospital where they were treated. Hospitals that had a higher ratio of nurses to patients were rated higher.

In addition, patients rated hospitals that had higher quality of care as offering a more satisfying experience. These hospitals were those that had better care for heart attack, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and prevention of surgical complications.

Patient satisfaction varied by location, Jha's group found. In Birmingham, Ala., 71.9 percent of patients rated their care as highly satisfying. The next highest scores were given by patients in Knoxville, Tenn. (69.9 percent) and Charlotte, N.C. (69.4 percent).

The lowest satisfaction scores were given to hospitals in East Long Island, N.Y. (49.9 percent), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (51.9 percent), and New York City (52.3 percent).

"By making this information publicly available, I hope hospitals will begin to pay more attention, and I hope patients will pay more attention. Hopefully, this will motivate them to choose higher quality providers," Jha said. "Through that, I hope hospitals will begin to improve."

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, noted that for-profit hospitals rated lower in patient satisfaction.

"The study suggests a simple way to simultaneously improve quality and save money -- get rid of for-profit hospitals," Woolhandler said. "The study shows that for-profit hospitals have significantly lower ratings and once more affirms that profit-seeking has no role in care of the sick."

Jim Conway, senior vice president at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, agreed that there is a huge gap in hospital quality.

"A lot of our processes are very
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