Little is understood about the inpatient experience from the burn patients' perspectives. Rather, hospitals emphasize quantitative feedback as part of the ongoing process improvement. Comments returned with the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) administrative survey may provide important patient perspectives. They analyzed quantitative and qualitative HCAHPS data to identify areas for care improvement. They reviewed our burn center HCAHPS results over 2 years. They analyzed "top-box" result in each defined HCAHPS category, which is the most frequently reported best result in each composite, including survey scores ≥9 (out of 10). They performed qualitative content analysis of open-text responses via a HIPAA-compliant analysis software. They developed a hierarchy of major expressed themes and organized them using HCAHPS-validated satisfaction domains. A total of 610 inpatient HCAHPS surveys (21% response rate) were returned. Seventy-five percent of respondents ranked their burn center as ≥9 (out of 10) in care scores. Content analysis identified three main components of the inpatient experience: 1) provider/nurse communication, 2) hospital environment, and 3) the discharge experience. Caring, respect, handoff coordination, explanations, listening, and confidence in provider constituted the six key communication themes. Patients generally reported that burn providers listened to their concerns, but others requested clearer explanations of their condition and care. Responses about hospital environment highlighted excessive noise and disrupted sleep, and variable responses related to cleanliness. Challenges in the discharge experience included difficulties procuring wound care supplies and discharge medications. Qualitative data from HCAHPS helped identify major target areas for burn center performance improvement. Analysis of HCAHPS direct patient feedback is useful in process improvement, whereas numerical data alone do not provide sufficient actionable information.
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