In a new trend, many hospital ratings focus on patient satisfaction as an indicator of the level of care at the facility. However, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers attests there may be little correlation between the two. The study finds patient satisfaction may be an important factor in the perception of the hospital’s dedication to service quality, but not a major factor in care.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the findings were presented online in JAMA Surgery. The researchers believe it is important to track patient satisfaction in health care settings, but the actual kind of care the patient receives is quite independent of this factor. Therefore, it can be quite misleading to link high patient satisfaction to enhanced patient care.

California medical malpractice lawyers have also come across increasing references to patient satisfaction in the national conversation on health care. In 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established final details of its reimbursement program that would adjust reimbursement to hospitals based on patient satisfaction scores. Besides, many hospital ratings websites also heavily stress the importance of patient satisfaction scores in determining whether a hospital has a good safety record. This may be dangerous.

The researchers wanted to evaluate the idea that patient satisfaction is critical to patient safety, and therefore compared the performance of 31 American hospitals on a number of markers provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Surgical Care Improvement Project, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers and Systems and Employee Safety Attitudes Questionnaire.

Among other things, the respondents were asked about nursing care, in regard to cleanliness, and surgical quality in regard to infection prevention. The results were not surprising to California medical malpractice lawyers - there was no clear correlation between patient satisfaction scores and surgical quality scores.