National survey results released in March of 2008 indicate that patients are often dissatisfied with their care at local hospitals. The survey, sent randomly to patients at more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals included some of the following questions:
- Did doctors treat patients with courtesy and respect?
- How often were the room and bathroom cleaned?
- Was the area around the room quiet?
- Did the patient get immediate help after pressing a Call button?
The government's website www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov lets consumers compare up to three hospitals. Consumers will also be able to see how well the hospital fared on each question. Rich Umbdensock, CEO of the American Hospital Association, feels the website will help hospitals focus on improvements where patients feel it is needed most.
Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said consumers and insurers pay for care, good or not, and the government's efforts to evaluate the quality of health care are lacking. Informing consumers about how well a hospital performs or how much it charges for a service will serve as incentive for health care providers to do better.
"The current sector is all about volume. The future is about value," according to Leavitt.