Racial/ethnic Differences in Patients' Perceptions of Inpatient Care Using the HCAHPS Survey

Published In: Medical Care Research and Review, v. 67, no. 1, Feb. 2010, p. 74-92

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

by Elizabeth Goldstein, Marc N. Elliott, William Lehrman, Katrin Hambarsoomian, Laura Giordano

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Using HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, also known as the CAHPS Hospital Survey) data from 2,684 hospitals, the authors compare the experiences of Hispanic, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and multiracial inpatients with those of non-Hispanic White inpatients to understand the roles of between- and within-hospital differences in patients' perspectives of hospital care. The study finds that, on average, non-Hispanic White inpatients receive care at hospitals that provide better experiences for all patients than the hospitals more often used by minority patients. Within hospitals, patient experiences are more similar by race/ethnicity, though some disparities do exist, especially for Asians. This research suggests that targeting hospitals that serve predominantly minority patients, improving the access of minority patients to better hospitals, and targeting the experiences of Asians within hospitals may be promising means of reducing disparities in patient experience.

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