J Patient Exp. 2020 Dec;7(6):1760-1770. doi: 10.1177/2374373520942403. Epub 2020 Jul 21.
Patient experience is increasingly recognized as a measure of health care quality and patient-centered care and is currently measured through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). The HCAHPS survey may miss key factors important to patients, and in particular, to underserved patient populations. We performed a qualitative study utilizing semi-structured interviews with 45 hospitalized English- and Spanish-speaking patients and 6 focus groups with physicians, nurses, and administrators at a large, urban safety-net hospital. Four main themes were important to patients: (1) the hospital environment including cleanliness and how hospital policies and procedures impact patients' perceived autonomy, (2) whole-person care, (3) communication with and between care teams and utilizing words that patients can understand, and (4) responsiveness and attentiveness to needs. We found that several key themes that were important to patients are not fully addressed in the HCAHPS survey and there is a disconnect between what patients and care teams believe patients want and what hospital policies drive in the care environment.