New Study Benchmarks Factors Linked to Higher Patient Satisfaction in Cancer Care
"Having a compassionate team of care providers" is the most important experience factor among cancer patients when rating their overall satisfaction with their care experience according to a new study conducted by Healthgrades, the leading provider of information to help consumers make informed decisions about physicians and hospitals. The national survey of more than 1,400 US cancer patients was conducted online during between January and March of 2012. The study revealed that hospitals performing best on the benchmarks received higher "overall satisfaction" and "willingness to recommend" ratings from cancer patients as well.
"This study clearly supports our intuition about the importance of various care experience factors in determining patients' satisfaction with the way their cancer care is provided," said Steven D. Wood, PhD, Vice President of National Accounts at Healthgrades and Emeritus Professor of Marketing from Arizona State University, lead author of the study. "According to the participants, overall satisfaction with their care experience is shaped primarily by three things: 1) having a compassionate team of care providers, 2) access to a knowledgeable, competent physician(s), and 3) being treated as human beings, not just someone with a disease. These are the most important correlates with patient satisfaction."
"Understanding what cancer patients expect from their care experience is extremely important," said Maurie Markman, M.D., senior vice president for clinical affairs at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), sponsor of the study. "Cancer is a dehumanizing, horrible disease that affects every part of an individual's life, including interactions with family, friends and colleagues. The tremendous emotional impact, and the profound influence on how patients are able to carry out normal activities of daily living, simply cannot be overstated. The Healthgrades study helps us understand the important link between a patient's cancer care experience and the things we can do to improve their overall satisfaction with treatment."
CTCA consistently earns high marks in patient satisfaction surveys, including the federal government's quarterly Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey in which more than 90 percent of cancer patients say they would definitely recommend CTCA to other patients. CTCA funded the Healthgrades study to better understand how cancer patients value specific dimensions of their treatment and their impact on the overall treatment experience.
Survey respondents included more than 1,400 cancer patients who were treated in a hospital setting during the past three years (700 at CTCA hospitals, and 723 at non-CTCA hospitals across the US). Patients were asked to rate the most important experience factors from a list of 13 factors predetermined by secondary research and a series of patient and caregiver focus groups. Patients were also asked to indicate their overall satisfaction with the care provided by their hospital and their likelihood to recommend their treatment facility to others needing similar care.
"There was a clear, positive correlation between higher ratings on the patient experience benchmarks and recommendation/satisfaction scores," said Dr. Wood.
"Understanding the drivers of patient satisfaction is one path to defining quality care for cancer patients," commented Dr. Markman. "While no definitive data exist in cancer care, there is a significant amount of data for other disease types that correlate better clinical outcomes with higher patient satisfaction. The more satisfied patients are, the more likely they'll be to stay with their treatment regimen and make the lifestyle changes necessary to improve their treatment results. "
More information about the Healthgrades study is available at cpmhealthgrades.com/cancerpatientexperience.