Higher-performing and higher-staffed hospitals prepandemic were slower to decline, but all declined by Q4 of 2021
By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) — During 2020 to 2021, there was a decrease in patient experience scores for hospital care, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in JAMA Health Forum.
Marc N. Elliott, Ph.D., from RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues compared 2020 to 2021 data to 2018 to 2019 data from 3,900,887 Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) respondents discharged from 3,381 HCAHPS-participating U.S. hospitals. The primary outcome was an HCAHPS summary score (HCAHPS-SS) averaging 10 HCAHPS measures.
The researchers found that the HCAHPS-SS was 1.2 percentage points (pp) lower for quarter (Q) 2/2020 discharges, â1.9 to â2.0 pp for Q3/2020 and Q1/2021, and â3.6 pp for Q4/2021 compared with expected trends based on prepandemic data. Staff responsiveness and cleanliness were the most affected measures in Q4/2021 (â5.6 and â4.9 pp); discharge information and quietness were the least affected (â1.6 and â1.8 pp). Smaller-than-average decreases were seen initially in overall rating and hospital recommendation measures, but by Q2/2021, they decreased as much as the more specific experience measures. For hospitals with the lowest prepandemic staffing, the HCAHPS-SS fell most; hospitals with bottom- and top-quartile staffing showed the largest and smaller decrements, respectively. Consistently smaller HCAHPS-SS drops were seen for hospitals with better overall prepandemic quality; effects were about 25 percent smaller for five-star hospitals versus one- and two-star hospitals.
“Hospitals that were higher performing and higher staffed pre-pandemic were slower to decline, but by Q4/2021, scores for even these hospitals had declined,” the authors write.
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