Better patient experience linked to lower mortality

Readmission rates and patient satisfaction are good measures of quality, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from Boston-based M.I.T. and Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University.

Value-based care initiatives hinge on the healthcare industry's ability to identify and reward quality care, meaning an understanding of which quality metrics are actually linked to better patient outcomes is critical. This study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, compared outcomes of similar patients delivered somewhat randomly to hospitals with varying quality levels based on ambulance company preferences.

Here are the three main findings.

  1. Hospitals with higher process measures, or measures considered to improve outcomes — like giving heart failure patients discharge instructions or giving preventative antibiotics to surgery patients one hour before incision — were associated with lower long-term mortality.
  1. Lower patient satisfaction scores were linked to higher odds of readmission and death.
  1. Hospital readmission rates had a strong positive effect on the odds of readmission, and hospital mortality rates even more strongly predicted the odds of mortality.

"We conclude that the measures used today by CMS to reimburse and rate hospitals on their quality are reliable and valid indicators of hospital quality, not only for patients treated for the conditions they measure but for other types of emergency care," the authors wrote.

Read the full paper here.

 

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