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Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Patient Satisfaction Surveys Fall Short For Pediatric Patients

Topic: Patient Satisfaction Surveys Fall Short For Pediatric Patients

Pediatric patient satisfactions need to focus on elements of care important to children, like their fears or even whether or not they get bored in the hospital.

Healthcare organizations need a better way to survey pediatric patient satisfaction that is inclusive and simple enough for a child—not her parent or guardian—to complete, a group for researchers from Auburn University said in new research.

The study, published in The Beryl Institute’s PX Journal, concluded that the existing, albeit few and far between, pediatric patient feedback questionnaires are too complex to yield meaningful insights into the pediatric patient experience, warranting work to develop a new one.

These findings come as more healthcare professionals focus on improving the patient experience as a part of their value-based care efforts. The transition from volume to value has placed heavy emphasis on a positive healthcare experience, with health payers reimbursing based on good patient reports and organizations using patient feedback for quality improvement projects.

“To quantify patient satisfaction as an indicator of the patient’s overall experience, self-reporting tools are developed to assess the quality of their care received,” the researchers explained. “Literature suggests that patient experience in the US is typically collected with survey data, with the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers [and Systems] Survey (HCAHPS) widely regarded as the industry standard.”

There are numerous versions of the CAHPS survey, with the hospital iteration—hence from where the H in HCAHPS originates—being one of the more prominent ones. There are also CAHPS surveys that look at outpatient settings, long-term care facilities, and pediatric providers.

But that pediatric version doesn’t actually survey the child. It surveys the parent or legal guardian, who acts as a proxy to report on experiences in the pediatric care setting.

“A common belief is that children lack the perceptiveness, knowledge, experience, or maturity needed to answer questions on a complex subject such as their health and the day-to-day operations to care for them while hospitalized,” the researchers noted. “It is also assumed that children are not cognitively mature enough to thoroughly reflect on their healthcare experiences, suggesting they cannot accurately score survey questions.”

Data has emerged to counter those arguments, the team continued. Research shows that children as young as five years old are able to articulate their emotions, process the impact of having a chronic illness, and provide feedback about care experiences.

Other studies have demonstrated that child perceptions of healthcare will differ from parents or guardians, giving credence to the argument that hospitals should directly survey children about their healthcare experiences.

A literature review of just below 10,000 studies looking into pediatric patient satisfaction surveying showed that there is still much work left to do in that domain. Of the 17 studies that ultimately met inclusion criteria, 58 percent collected experience data from both the patient and the parent or guardian, while 41 percent collected experience data from the child only.

Topic Discussed: Patient Satisfaction Surveys Fall Short For Pediatric Patients

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