Research conducted by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions revealed that hospitals with better patient experience ratings have higher profitability and perform better financially. According to the findings, improving patient experience can help increase performance through strengthening customer loyalty, boosting reputation, and growing the utilization of services. Additionally, the report found the association was strongest with aspects of patient experience linked to better clinical care.
These results suggest that increases in patient experience scores might be associated with improved clinical quality. However, while efforts to improve patient experience often focus on attributes of care that promote quality, there has been limited research to support this topic. Therefore, the question many are asking is if patient experience scores are associated with increased clinical quality?
To further examine this topic, Deloitte researched the association between patient experience scores and hospital clinical quality measures. The analyses uncovered two main findings:
- Hospitals with better patient experience ratings have better process of care quality scores. Hospitals that received “excellent” patient experience ratings had better clinical quality scores for all 18 process of care measures analyzed compared to hospitals that received “low” ratings.
- Hospitals with better patient experience ratings have higher scores for some, but not all, clinical outcomes. Hospitals that received “excellent” patient experience ratings had lower readmission and mortality rates compared to hospitals with “low” experience ratings. High-scoring hospitals, however, did not always have lower hospital-acquired infection (HAI) rates.
These results suggest that patient experience scores pertaining to more visible and tangible quality measures such as ED wait times, communication with nurses, discharge information, and readmissions, were more strongly associated with clinical quality. Additionally, the analysis suggests that a hospitals’ participation in value-based care models (such as Accountable care organizations (ACO) and bundled-payment arrangements) may strengthen the association between patient experience and hospital clinical quality.
Healthcare leaders today face multiple priorities and demands for resources, which may bring to question the value of acting and analyzing patient experience data. Hopefully, the research from this analysis has been able to shed some new light on the importance of patient experience not only on hospital profitability but also on many aspects of clinical quality.