Good Communication Is at the Heart of Quality Care
It isn’t just important to patient satisfaction, it also impacts patient safety.
If you ever have the need to be admitted into a hospital, the last thing you would expect is to become unnecessarily sicker. What can put your life needlessly at risk? Communication. When doctors, nurses and administrators bungle the exchange of critical information about a patient at any juncture of care, intentional or not, it can put a patient’s life in jeopardy.
Since communication problems are the most common cause of medical errors, HealthGrades wanted to see if there was a relationship between the number of patient safety events and the ratings patients gave to questions from a patient satisfaction survey pertaining to communication. When these were analyzed together an interesting picture emerged.
When patients were asked how well the nursing staff communicated, the hospitals whose patients rated them the lowest (in the bottom 10%) for nursing communication compared to the highest rated (in the top 10%), had on average 27% more overall patient safety events.
When patients were asked how well their doctors communicated, the hospitals landing at the bottom 10% for physician communication compared to those in the top 10%, had on average 15% more overall patient safety events.
The hospitals with the highest ratings on nursing and physician communication had, on average, lower rates for patient safety events. Some of the differences for individual patient safety indicators were striking.
While safety should not fall on the shoulders of patients, a shared responsibility in good communication all around can go a long way to derailing potential errors.
HealthGrades Rates Hospitals In Safety: Why It Matters
If a hospital employee fails to wash his or her hands and you become infected with an infectious organism that has hitchhiked on the tips of their fingertips from another patient, you have experienced one of the many preventable hospital-acquired conditions. These include infections, medical and surgical complications, and some unforgivable errors such as objects left inside the body during surgery.
HealthGrades evaluated the nation’s hospitals based on their performance around 13 patient safety indicators, developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Top-performing hospitals are recognized with HealthGrades Excellence Awards.
This Year's Recipients:
HealthGrades Rates Hospitals In Satisfaction: Why It Matters
Most of the medical community agrees that what patients report about their experiences following a hospital stay, can matter a great deal. The widely accepted Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey can offer a view of a hospital’s commitment to quality patient care through the lens of a patient. A few days after leaving the hospital, a random sample of patients is given a 27-question survey. The results are tallied and the hospital receives a score.
At the heart of the survey are questions around how well the doctors and nurses respond and communicate with their patients. Were the doctors and nurses attentive, thorough and respectful during these exchanges? Did they provide adequate pain control? Did the doctors and nurses explain everything related to the medications patients are taking and provide clear instructions about what patients need to do when they get home?
HealthGrades evaluated the nation’s hospitals based on patient satisfaction to identify the top-performing hospitals.
This Year's Recipients:
» 332 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ Recipients
About HealthGrades More than 200 million consumers use HealthGrades.com to find, compare, select, and connect with a physician or hospital, and use its comprehensive information about clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, patient safety, and health conditions to make more informed healthcare decisions.