Hospitals averaged a rating of 84.2 on a 100-point scale, up 1.2 points from five years ago, according to Press Ganey Associates, a health-care quality measurement specialist that conducted the survey.Gloating over a 1.2 percentage point difference would make most statisticians cringe - especially when Press Ganey, the survey firm, puts the margin of error for the survey at about 1%.
Room conditions, food quality and the discharge process continued to draw complaints from patients. More than half of patients' comments about room conditions were negative, while more than a third of comments about meals and discharge from hospitals were negative.
Let's not fool ourselves thinking that patients' rooms and even the food make that much difference in the patient experience in our hospitals. These are immaterial to improving care. What matters is the nurse to patient ratio.
I bet any one of us would eat dog food in a hospital if we had a caring attentive nurse help us through our toughest hours; one who called the doctor about a medication error, helped us to the bathroom when we needed it, and took the time to explain our discharge instructions and follow-up care as we leave.
Too many hospitals have increased nursing-to-patient ratios to save money and counteract the decline in nurses available nation-wide. And patients have gotten little as a result for their health care dollar. Geez. 1.2% return on our health care dollar investment?
Hey guys and gals, it's the people that matter, not buildings and surveys. Give the patients more contact and watch your surveys climb. Problem is, are hospital administrators willing to pay?