Compassion practices and HCAHPS: does rewarding and supporting workplace compassion influence patient perceptions?

Health Serv Res. 2014 Oct;49(5):1670-83. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12186. Epub 2014 May 19.


Objective: To examine the benefits of compassion practices on two indicators of patient perceptions of care quality-the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and systems (HCAHPS) overall hospital rating and likelihood of recommending.

Study setting: Two hundred sixty-nine nonfederal acute care U.S. hospitals.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Data collection: Surveys collected from top-level hospital executives. Publicly reported HCAHPS data from October 2012 release.

Principal findings: Compassion practices, a measure of the extent to which a hospital rewards compassionate acts and compassionately supports its employees (e.g., compassionate employee awards, pastoral care for employees), is significantly and positively associated with hospital ratings and likelihood of recommending.

Conclusions: Our findings illustrate the benefits for patients of specific and actionable organizational practices that provide and reinforce compassion.

Keywords: Compassion practices; HCAHPS; management practices; patient perceptions of care; quality of care.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Care / organization & administration*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States
  • Workplace / psychology*