Study: Most Patient Complaints Cite Lack of Patient-Centered Care

A lack of patient-centered care accounted for the majority of patient complaints related to radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers examined radiology-related patient complaints received by Massachusetts General Hospital's Office of Patient Advocacy from April 1999 to December 2010. There were 153 total complaints, representing 0.238 complaints per 10,000 radiologic procedures. Interventional procedures had more than 20 times the rate of complaints as noninterventional examinations. More than eight out of 10 — 83.6 percent — of complaints were resolved, according to the study.  

Here is the breakdown of complaints by topic:

•    60.1 percent described a failure to provide patient-centered care.
•    26.2 percent reported physical discomfort.
•    10.5 percent reported a combination of physical discomfort and lack of patient-centered care.
•    3.2 percent were not related to physical discomfort or lack of patient-centered care.  

Here is the breakdown of complaints regarding quality, based on safety benchmarks, systems and professionalism:
•    44.5 percent were associated with operational systems.
•    24.2 percent were associated with safety.
•    17 percent were associated with professionalism.
•    14.3 percent were associated with multifactorial events. 

In addition, delays were responsible for 20.2 percent of complaints and 49.6 percent of complaints were associated with radiology staff members. The hospital identified delays and staff interactions with patients as areas for improvement, according to the study.

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