Empowered patients are usually more satisfied

New Press, Ganey study supports theory

When Beverly H. Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Family-Centered Care in Bethesda, MD, says that providing information to patients and their families is good for patients and hospitals (see related story on family-centered care, cover), she has some empirical data to back up her assertion.

A new study by Press, Ganey Associates Inc. in South Bend, IN, compiled data from more than 250,000 patients in 476 hospitals. In particular, the consultancy looked at whether the hospital took the initiative to inform and explain to patients their rights as patients. Hospitals that provided this information to patients had higher mean satisfaction scores than those that did not — 84.9 for the former, 81.2 for the latter.

According to Press, Ganey president Irwin Press, PhD, organizations that embrace the idea of a patient bill of rights — whether it is law or not — are enhancing the idea of collaboration between the patient and the health care professional.

This isn’t the first Press, Ganey study that supports the idea that informed patients are happier with their health care. A study earlier this year showed that patients who had communication from their health care provider about life support options and organ donation were also more satisfied with the care they received than those who did not.

"Patients are naturally more satisfied when they are empowered through knowledge," says Rodney Ganey, the firm’s CEO. "They want to be informed, they want to have choices, and they want to be protected. Successful health care organizations will be those that respect the role the patient plays in decision-making."