Do Hospitals Rank Differently on HCAHPS for Different Patient Subgroups?

Published In: Medical Care Research and Review, v. 67, no. 1, Feb. 2010, p. 56-73

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

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

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Prior research documents differences in patient-reported experiences by patient characteristics. Using nine measures of patient experience from 1,203,229 patients discharged in 2006-2007 from 2,684 acute and critical access hospitals, the authors find that adjusted hospital scores measure distinctions in quality for the average patient with high reliability. The authors also find that hospital ranks (the relative scores of hospitals for patients of a given type) vary substantially by patient health status and race/ ethnicity/language, and moderately by patient education and age (p < .05 for almost all measures). Quality improvement efforts should examine hospital performance with both sicker and healthier patients, because many hospitals that do well with one group (relative to other hospitals) may not do well with another. The experiences of American Indians/Alaska Natives should also receive particular attention. As HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) data accumulate, reports that drill down to hospital performance for patient subtypes (especially by health status) may be valuable.

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