Objectives: To determine whether hospitals where patients report higher overall satisfaction with their interactions among the hospital and staff and specifically their experience with the discharge process are more likely to have lower 30-day readmission rates after adjustment for hospital clinical performance.
Study design: Among patients 18 years or older, an observational analysis was conducted using Hospital Compare data on clinical performance, patient satisfaction, and 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia for the period July 2005 through June 2008.
Methods: A hospital-level multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed for each of 3 clinical conditions to determine the relationship between patient-reported measures of their satisfaction with the hospital stay and staff and the discharge process and 30-day readmission rates, while controlling for clinical performance.
Results: In samples ranging from 1798 hospitals for acute myocardial infarction to 2562 hospitals for pneumonia, higher hospital-level patient satisfaction scores (overall and for discharge planning) were independently associated with lower 30-day readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (odds ratio [OR] for readmission per interquartile improvement in hospital score, 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94-0.99), heart failure (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.95-0.97), and pneumonia (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.96-0.99). These improvements were between 1.6 and 4.9 times higher than those for the 3 clinical performance measures.
Conclusions: Higher overall patient satisfaction and satisfaction with discharge planning are associated with lower 30-day risk-standardized hospital readmission rates after adjusting for clinical quality. This finding suggests that patient-centered information can have an important role in the evaluation and management of hospital performance.