Clinical question: Does patient experience correlate with specific hospital care coordination and transition strategies, and if so, which strategies most strongly correlate with higher patient experience scores?
Background: Patient experience is an increasingly important measure in value-based payment programs. However, progress has been slow in improving patient experience, and little empirical data exist regarding which strategies are effective. Care transitions are critical times during a hospitalization, with many hospitals already implementing measures to improve the discharge process and prevent readmission of patients. It is not known whether those measures also influence patient experience scores, and if they do improve scores, which measures are most effective at doing so.
Study design: An analytic observational survey design.
Setting: Hospitals eligible for the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) between June 2013 and December 2014.
Synopsis: A survey was developed and given to chief medical officers at 1,600 hospitals between June 2013 and December 2014; the survey assessed care coordination strategies employed by these institutions. 992 hospitals (62% response rate) were subsequently categorized as “low-strategy,” “mid-strategy,” or “high-strategy” hospitals. Patient satisfaction scores from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey in 2014 were correlated to the number of strategies and the specific strategies each hospital employed. In general, the higher-strategy hospitals had significantly higher HCAHPS survey scores than did low-strategy hospitals (+2.23 points; P less than .001). Specifically, creating and sharing a discharge summary prior to discharge (+1.43 points; P less than .001), using a discharge planner (+1.71 points; P less than .001), and calling patients 48 hours post discharge (+1.64 points; P less than .001) all resulted in overall higher hospital ratings by patients.
One limitation of this study is that no causal inference can be made between the specific strategies associated with higher HCAHPS scores and care coordination strategies.
Bottom line: Hospital-led care transition strategies with direct patient interactions led to higher patient satisfaction scores.
Citation: Figueroa JF et al. Hospital-level care coordination strategies associated with better patient experience. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018 Apr 4. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2017-007597.
Dr. Tsien is a hospitalist in the division of hospital medicine in the department of medicine at Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, Ill.