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Don’t follow the money for patient satisfaction

Cleanliness is not always next to costliness, when it come to hospital cleaning budgets and pleasing patients.

Here is a report from by my colleague Tami Swartz, managing editor at HCPro’s Patient Safety Monitor Blog, which explains why:

Money can’t buy you love

It turns out the elusive patient satisfaction craved by most hospitals can’t be bought, or at least, not by throwing money toward environmental services. (Questions regarding environment are specifically asked on the HCAHPS survey, including whether patient bathrooms and rooms were kept clean and how quiet the room is, and of course a patient may consider such factors when answering questions regarding overall experience.)

Patients, like hotel guests, often sleep in the same room for quite some time and it would be rational to tie cleanliness and maintenance costs to patient satisfaction. But Penn State researchers say it ain’t so [1]—well, not exactly. Like most things, it depends how the money is spent.

The amount of money spent matters less than efficient operational processes and the service provided behind them, according the press release.

I might have to put this in the obvious column. If leaders don’t ensure higher costs lead to a thoroughly and quickly cleaned, scores won’t be any higher. But it was curious to see environmental services studied for HCAHPS. Does your hospital focus on this aspect of patient satisfaction? Should they?

The amount of money spent matters less than efficient operational processes and the service provided behind them, according the press release.

To comment or for more insight and resources on patient safety, visit Patient Safety Monitor Blog [2].