Patient and Hospital Characteristics Associated With Patient Assessments of Hospital Obstetrical Care

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Objectives.The goals of this study were to examine the relationship of patient assessments of hospital care with patient and hospital characteristics. In addition, the authors sought to assess relationships between patient assessments and other patient-derived measures of care (eg, how much they were helped by the hospitalization and amount of pain experienced).Methods.The authors surveyed 16,051 women (response rate, 58%) discharged after labor and delivery from 18 hospitals during the study period of 1992 to 1994. Patient assessments were obtained using a previously validated survey instrument, Patient Judgment of Hospital Quality, that includes eight scales assessing different aspects of the process of care (eg, physician care, discharge procedures) and other single item assessments (eg, overall quality). For this study, we utilized five of the scales (physician care, nursing care, information, discharge preparation, global assessments [willingness to brag, recommend or return to the hospital]). For analysis, items were rated on a five-point ordinal scale from poor to excellent. For scoring purposes, responses were transformed to linear ratings, ranging from 0 to 100 (eg, 0 = poor care, 100 = excellent care).Results.In multivariable analyses, the authors found that patients who were older, white, not married, uninsured or had commercial insurance, and in better health status were significantly more likely to give higher assessments (P < 0.01), although very little of the variance in assessment scores was explained by these characteristics (2%-3%). In bivariate analyses, patient assessments were higher in nonteaching hospitals and those with fewer beds, fewer deliveries, lower cesarean-section (C-section) rates, fewer patients with Medicaid, and higher rates of vaginal births after C-section deliveries. When these variables were utilized as independent predictors in multivariable analyses using adjusted nested linear regression (to account for clustering of patients), few of the hospital characteristics reached a level of statistical significance. Finally, correlations between the five scales and other patient assessments of quality, such as how much they were helped by the hospitalization, were statistically significant (P < 0.01) and high in magnitude, ranging from 0.47 to 0.61.Conclusions.Although hospital scores differed according to several patient and hospital characteristics, the magnitude of the associations was relatively small. The findings suggest that, with respect to obstetric care, patient assessments may represent a robust measure that can be applied to diverse hospitals and patient casemix.

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