Objective: To evaluate the measurement properties of a set of six items designed to elicit narrative accounts of pediatric inpatient experience.
Data sources: Data came from 163 participants recruited from a probability-based online panel of U.S. adults. Participants were family members of a child who had an overnight hospital stay in the past 12 months.
Study design: Cross-sectional survey with follow-up phone interviews.
Data collection/extraction methods: Participants completed an online (n = 129) or phone (n = 34) survey about their child's hospitalization experience. The survey contained closed-ended items from the Child Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (Child HCAHPS) survey, followed by the six narrative items. Approximately 2 weeks after completing the survey, 47 participants additionally completed a one-hour, semi-structured phone interview, the results of which served as a "gold standard" for evaluating the fidelity of narrative responses. Qualitative content analysis was used to code narrative and interview responses for domains of patient experience and actionability.
Principal findings: The average narrative was 248 words (SD = 319). Seventy-nine percent of narratives mentioned a topic included in the Child HCAHPS survey; 89% mentioned a topic not covered by that survey; and 75% included at least one detailed description of an actionable event. Overall, there was 66% correspondence between narrative and interview responses. Correspondence was higher on the phone than in the online condition (75% vs. 59%).
Conclusions: Narratives elicited from rigorously designed multi-item sets can provide detailed, substantive information about pediatric inpatient experiences that hospitals could use to improve child and family experiences during pediatric hospitalization. They add context to closed-ended survey item responses and provide information about experiences of care important to children and families that are not included in quantitative surveys.
Keywords: child HCAHPS; inpatient experiences with care; patient narratives; pediatric hospitalization.
© 2023 RAND Corporation and The Authors. Health Services Research published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Health Research and Educational Trust.