How do patients perceive the quality of your care?

March 1, 2006

Increasingly, physicians and hospitals appreciate that a patient's health-care experience is a key element in improving quality care, according to American Medical News (1/16/2006). After all, patients are more likely to comply with medical advice if they have a good relationship with their physicians. With a renewed focus on the patient experience, tools to gather feedback are growing.

Increasingly, physicians and hospitals appreciate that a patient's health-care experience is a key element in improving quality care, according to American Medical News (1/16/2006). After all, patients are more likely to comply with medical advice if they have a good relationship with their physicians. With a renewed focus on the patient experience, tools to gather feedback are growing.

One such tactic is the increased use of mystery patients. Provided with phony medical records and outpatient orders, these mystery patients document how they are treated and cared for within a health-care visit.

Another emerging tool is the patient survey. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has developed a 27-question survey that attempts to measure patients' experiences. The questionnaire, known as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems or HCAHPS, focuses on whether patients believe physicians treated them with respect, listened carefully, and explained things in a way they could understand. The results of the survey are expected to be made publicly available in 2007.