Hospitals with high performance scores in patient care are more profitable, according to the 2011 Pulse Report from Press Ganey, which serves hospitals that represent 66% of U.S. hospital admissions.

Analyzing public data on hospital profitability and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey scores, the report found that the top 25% of U.S. hospitals with the highest scores on the HCAHPS question about performance were, on average, the most profitable and had the highest clinical scores.

Taking great care of patients is the best business model for hospitals.” – Robert Draughon CEO Press Ganey.

Hospitals that are making performance on patient satisfaction and publicly reported clinical core measures a priority are proving to be the most successful.”

Excellence in patient experiences, clinical outcomes and financial profitability often occur together, the report concludes, likely because “quality” is often structural or systematic. When an organization focuses on quality, it tends to do so in all areas.

The report also found that since the advent of public reporting of clinical and patient satisfaction data, hospital performance across the board has increased. Compliance rates with evidence-based standards of care have increased for most of the common causes of hospitalization, including heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.

“With CMS’ value-based purchasing (VBP) program – the first national pay-for-performance program – beginning its performance period on July 1 this year, hospitals are more focused than ever on understanding and improving their performance,” Draughon said.”

From the time voluntary public reporting began in 2006 to when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, the composite performance score for hospital performance on the heart failure measure set saw a significant increase. Overall, hospital ratings on the HCAHPS survey increased from 64% to just over 67% over the same time period, also indicating improved performance.

Press Ganey’s report provides data and insights on a number of other key areas in health care, including the following topics and highlights:

    --  Emergency department (ED) - Patients seen in the ED from 7 a.m. to 3
        p.m. report much higher satisfaction ratings than those that arrive at
        any other time.
    --  Inpatient - Patients are more satisfied now than they were four years
        ago (a 2.25% increase in satisfaction scores for inpatients).
    --  Outpatient - Women are generally more satisfied than men with their
        outpatient experiences, especially those 35-49.
    --  Physicians - Doctors specializing in pathology, radiology, pediatrics
        and family medicine are the most satisfied (among 18 specialties
    --  Health care employees - The closer employees are to patients, the lower
        their workplace satisfaction and engagement, likely due to the higher
        stresses and responsibilities of patient care.
    --  Medical practice - Medical oncology, cardiovascular disease and
        interventional cardiology are the top medical practice specialties for
        patient satisfaction (among 25 specialties evaluated).
    --  Home care - Nurses create the greatest amount of satisfaction among home
        care patients.