For the first time, Consumer Reports will provide patient satisfaction Ratings for more than 3,400 hospitals across the U.S.
Subscribers to www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org will have access to patient satisfaction ratings, searchable by region, for more than 3,400 hospitals and nearly 50 teaching hospitals. The hospitals can also be compared with each other. CR notes several areas of concern at hospitals nationwide; the vast majority of hospitals received the worst Ratings for communication about new medications and discharge planning. The hospital ratings are based on more than a million patient questionnaires collected by the federal government’s Hospital Consumer Assessments of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey in September 2008, with data released in June.
According to the LA Times, the ratings also include intensity of care metrics as determined by data from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. The site also rates more than 200 prescription medications for more than 20 common medical conditions. In creating the Ratings Center, Consumer Reports also identified several areas of concern at hospitals nationwide. For example, 92% of all hospitals rated were given the lowest possible score for staff communication about new medications, 82% received the lowest marks for discharge instructions, and 27% received the lowest score for staff attentiveness. Looking at care intensity, meanwhile, the ratings reveal that hospitals that provide more intense care—treatment involving more frequent diagnostic tests and physician visits, greater reliance on specialty physicians, and prolonged hospital and intensive care unit stays—tended to score poorly on measures of patient satisfaction, suggesting that a more conservative care approach may be optimal.