High levels of patient satisfaction linked with lower chance of 30-day readmission

Patients who report higher levels of care satisfaction and good communication with their physicians were less likely to experience a readmission within 30 days post-discharge, according to a study published in BMJ Quality & Safety.

For the study, researchers administered questionnaires to 846 patients admitted at one of two inpatient adult medicine units at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston from 2012 through 2015. Patients responded to the questionnaires either on the day of their discharge or the day prior. The questionnaire assessed patient perceptions of their own health, their satisfaction with the care they received and their understanding of future care plans, among other areas of assessment. Among participants, 201 experienced an unplanned readmission within 30 days post-discharge.

Analysis revealed patients who reported being "very satisfied" with the care they received were 39 percent less likely to experience a readmission than patients who reported being less satisfied. Additionally, participants who reported their physicians always listened to them carefully were 32 percent less likely to have an unplanned 30-day readmission than participants who did not report good provider communication.

"These findings suggest that engaging patients in an assessment of communication quality, unmet needs, concerns and overall experience during their hospital stay may help identify issues that have not been captured in standard, post-discharge surveys that are conducted when an opportune time for quality improvement interventions has passed," said Jocelyn Carter, MD, lead study author and physician at the MGH Department of Medicine. "Now additional research is needed to examine how these data can help prospectively identify those at increased risk for readmission."

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