Patients' Perception of Hospital Care in the United States

Information about how patients experience care provided in hospitals is necessary for quality care improvement. The Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) program aims to gain more information about patient perception of care. 

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey was included in the HQA program investigation of patient perceptions. Data collected from 4,032 hospitals between July 2006 and June 2007 was analyzed along with data on hospital compliance and data from the annual survey of the American Hospital Association.

Key Findings:                        

  • Levels of satisfaction with care were moderately high with an average of 67.4 percent of patients reporting they would recommend the hospital. Additionally, high correlations were found between measures of patient experience.
  • Hospitals with a ratio of nurses-to-patient-days in the top quartile had significantly more patients reporting they would recommend the hospital than hospitals in the bottom quartile.
  • Hospitals with high levels of patient satisfaction provided higher quality of care across conditions investigated in the study. Patient experience with care differed based on the region of the country in which hospitals were located.

Improving the quality of care in hospitals could be facilitated with information provided from patient perspectives on hospital care.