The Effects of Hospital-Level Factors on Patients' Ratings of Physician Communication.
J Healthc Manag. 2016 Jan-Feb;61(1):28-41
Authors: Al-Amin M, Makarem SC
The quality of physician-patient communication influences patient health outcomes and satisfaction with healthcare delivery. Yet, little is known about contextual factors that influence physicians' communication with their patients. The main purpose of this article is to examine organizational-level factors that influence patient perceptions of physician communication in inpatient settings. We used the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and American Hospital Association data to determine patients' ratings of physician communication at the hospital level, and to collect information about hospital-level factors that can potentially influence physician communication. Our sample consisted of 2,756 hospitals. We ran a regression analysis to determine the predictors of poor physician communication, measured as the percentage of patients in a hospital who reported that physicians sometimes or never communicated well. In our sample of hospitals, this percentage ranged between 0% and 21%, with 25% of hospitals receiving poor ratings from more than 6% of patients. Three organizational factors had statistically significant negative associations with physician communication: for-profit ownership, hospital size, and hospitalists providing care in the hospital, On the other hand, the number of full-time-equivalent physicians and dentists per 10,000 inpatient days, physician ownership of the hospital, Medicare share of inpatient days, and public ownership were positively associated with patients' ratings of physician communication. Physician staffing levels are an understudied area in healthcare research. Our findings indicate that physician staffing levels affect the quality of physician communication with patients. Moreover, for-profit and larger hospitals should invest more in physician communication given the role that HCAHPS plays in value-based purchasing.
PMID: 26904776 [PubMed - in process]