Patient satisfaction survey data undermined by low response rate, study finds
- Patient experience data is increasingly being used to rate the quality of hospital and physician care, but current methods of collecting that data don’t tell the whole story, a new study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine concludes.
- Researchers at George Washington University and US Acute Care Solutions looked at patient experience data gathered between 2012 and 2015 from 42 facilities and 242 physicians.
- For some physicians, month-to-month scores bounced from the 20th percentile one month to the 80th percentile the next and the 30th percentile the following month, the authors say. Facility scores varied, too, but not so much.
A key factor in the fluctuations was patient response rate, which ranged from 3% to 16%.
“Imagine you conduct a survey, and only the very happy and very unhappy return their surveys,” Dr. Arvind Venkat, chair of research at US Acute Care Solutions and the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “What you get is a very biased sample. That makes it very difficult to come to any meaningful conclusions from the data.”
Certain factors predicted higher physician scores, including younger physician age, participation in patient satisfaction training and working during less busy times. Having a residency program, lower patient volume and shorter lengths of stay were associated with higher facility rates.
Getting patients to fill out satisfaction surveys is important as the data are incorporated into CMS rating systems and value-based care initiatives like the Merit-based Incentive Payments System (MIPS). The data may also be used to determine physician compensation and a hospital’s local reputation.
To boost patient satisfaction scores, some hospitals and health systems are creating a new C-suite role: chief experience officer. While still relatively new, the trend is growing. In a 2017 Beryl Institute survey, 58% of organizations reported having CXOs — up from 22% in 2013. The CXOs work across the enterprise to improve quality and outcomes and, potentially, raise their facilities’ payments.
- Annals of Emergency Medicine Measurement Under the Microscope: High Variability and Limited Construct Validity in Emergency Department Patient-Experience Scores
- FierceHealthcare Low response rates skew patient experience survey data