Do Hospital Characteristics Predict Racial-and-Ethnic Disparities in Patient Experience?
National Results from the HCAHPS Survey
Published in: Medical Care (2023). doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001949
Posted on RAND.org on November 17, 2023
Assess whether hospital characteristics associated with better patient experiences overall are also associated with smaller racial-and-ethnic disparities in inpatient experience.
Hospitals that are smaller, non-profit, and serve high proportions of White patients tend to be high-performing overall, but it is not known whether these hospitals also have smaller racial-and-ethnic disparities in care.
We used linear mixed-effect regression models to predict a summary measure that averaged eight Hospital CAHPS (HCAHPS) measures (Nurse Communication, Doctor Communication, Staff Responsiveness, Communication about Medicines, Discharge Information, Care Coordination, Hospital Cleanliness, and Quietness) from patient race-and-ethnicity, hospital characteristics (size, ownership, racial-and-ethnic patient-mix), and interactions of race-and-ethnicity with hospital characteristics.
Inpatients discharged from 4,365 hospitals in 2021 who completed an HCAHPS survey (N=2,288,862).
While hospitals serving larger proportions of Black and Hispanic patients scored lower on all measures, racial-and-ethnic disparities were generally smaller for Black and Hispanic patients who received care from hospitals serving higher proportions of patients in their racial-and-ethnic group. Experiences overall were better in smaller and non-profit hospitals, but racial-and-ethnic differences were slightly larger.
Large, for-profit hospitals and hospitals serving higher proportions of Black and Hispanic patients tend to be lower performing overall but have smaller disparities in patient experience. High-performing hospitals might look at low-performing hospitals for how to provide less disparate care whereas low-performing hospitals may look to high-performing hospitals for how to improve patient experience overall.