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Methodological Issues in Public Reporting of Patient Perspectives on Hospital Quality

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Background: Increasing attention is being focused on public reporting of patient satisfaction and experience with hospital care, both nationally and at the state level. Comparative reports on hospital patient satisfaction use a standard survey, but little is known about underlying methodological approaches for reporting these quality measures.

Methods: Literature, Web sites, and key informants were used to identify nine public reports. In-depth reviews were conducted to determine approaches to collecting, analyzing, and publicly reporting comparative data. Data were grouped into four analytic categories: survey, sampling, computation of scores, and reporting of scores.

Results: The reports were similar in response rates and sampling procedures but differed in the number of hospitals included, the survey instrument, and survey procedure. The reports varied considerably in the techniques for computing hospital scores and decisions about reporting scores.

Conclusions: Reports from nine locales illustrate the decision making necessary to produce comparative reports on hospital patient satisfaction. Differences stem from decisions about the survey instrument and statistical decisions about how to interpret and report data. These issues should be clearly delineated as part of any public reporting process.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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