Patient experiences of inpatient hospital care: a department matter and a hospital matter

Int J Qual Health Care. 2015 Feb;27(1):17-25. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzu090. Epub 2014 Dec 12.


Objective: To examine the added value of measuring and possibly presenting patient experiences at the department level, in addition to the hospital level, and to explore the possibility that patient experiences differ according to the 'type' of hospital department.

Design: Secondary analysis of data from a widely used survey on patient experiences of Dutch inpatient hospital care [Consumer Quality Index (CQI) Inpatient Hospital Care].

Setting: Inpatient hospital care experience survey of patients of 78 Dutch hospitals.

Participants: A total of 15 171 randomly selected inpatients from 78 Dutch hospitals, who had at least one night of hospitalization between October 2006 and October 2007.

Main outcome measures: Explained variance in patient experiences at the department level, compared with the explained variance at the hospital level. Significant differences in patient experiences between types of departments, expressed in regression coefficients. Patient experiences were measured using validated quality indicators, calculated from specific survey items.

Results: Adding the department level to the analyses of patient experiences is statistically worthwhile for a number of quality indicators of the CQI Inpatient Hospital Care, and will enable the presentation of more detailed results within hospitals. Furthermore, the results indicated that there are some systematic differences in patient experiences between specific types of hospital departments across hospitals. However, the proportion of variance in experiences explained by both department and hospital is limited (max. 14%).

Conclusions: Analyses of quality information on patient experiences of inpatient hospital care should not only take the hospital level, but also at the more specific department level into account.

Keywords: hospitals; patient satisfaction; quality of health care; statistics; survey methodology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hospital Administration / standards*
  • Hospital Departments / standards
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Young Adult