Mandated Quality Measures Don’t Guarantee Good Patient Hospital Experiences

Researchers at Ohio State University have found a negative correlation between improved clinical quality and a good patient experience in a hospital setting after implementing quality control strategies to meet state or federal requirements, according to a study scheduled for publication in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

Although the process of meeting state legislative mandates resulted in improved clinical quality as reported by hospitals, it decreased the quality of a patient’s hospital experience, or the experiential quality, the researchers found. However, they observed when hospitals enforced these laws sooner, through new strategies, the hospitals adjusted more readily and thus could improve experiential quality, according to a press release from Ohio State University (OSU).

“Clinical quality is about doing things correctly — strict guidelines, standardization and checklists, for example — so when you consider experiential quality is about customizing health-care delivery to an individual’s patient needs, there is a tension there,” Aravind Chandrasekaran, PhD, lead author and assistant professor of management sciences at OSU, stated in the release.

Chandrasekaran and colleagues also discovered hospital leaders with more patient-centric concerns could effectively lessen the gap between these negative associations. Hospitals with a traditionally high level of experiential quality were also able to transition better than other hospital, which suggests patient communication may be the key, according to the release.

“When leaders were more patient-centric, our analysis showed that they were able to overcome that tension between clinical quality and the quality of the patient experience,” Chandrasekaran said. “Leaders have to be thinking about patients when they design their operations. That way, they can cater many of their design principles to individual patients.”

The study involved analyzing data from 284 hospitals in 44 states, U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services clinical quality scores, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey results, and state legislative mandates for reduced hospital-acquired infections between 2003 and 2008, based on the release.

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