Carle earns high marks on satisfaction survey

By Brittany Abeijon

A recent survey shows the Carle Foundation Hospital exceeds both state and national average scores for patient satisfaction.

Carle rates well compared to other hospitals in the nation for the hospital’s overall rating and a patient’s willingness to recommend the hospital to others.

The survey, administered by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, was published at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov on March 28.

Instead of focusing on patients’ overall satisfaction, the survey asked how often different aspects of care were provided in terms of the care provided by nurses, the cleanliness of rooms and how often a doctor carefully listened to them.

“While we are proud that our hospital received favorable ratings, exceeding state and national averages in some cases, improving patient care continues to be an ongoing process,” said Lynne Barnes, vice president for clinical operations at Carle Foundation Hospital. “The survey results will help us evaluate the care we provide and find ways to ensure we are addressing all of our patients’ care needs.”

The 27-question survey examined satisfaction data from patients who were discharged from hospitals from October 2006 through June 2007. At Carle, 500 surveys were completed by a random sample of patients.

According to the survey, 71 percent of participants gave Carle the best possible rating for overall satisfaction. The national average was 63 percent and the state average was 62 percent.

Carle also exceeded the national and state averages for a patients’ willingness to recommend the hospital to others: 76 percent of participants said they definitely would recommend Carle to friends and family. That national average was 67 percent, and the state average was 66 percent.

Nick Schmidt, a 29-year-old Champaign resident, frequently visits Carle for chemotherapy treatments. Schmidt said he would recommend Carle to others for general treatments but not for cancer treatment or chemotherapy.

“I would have them go to a good research hospital so they are educated about their disease,” Schmidt said. “It is really important that the people know about their disease before treatment.”

When asked if they were given information about what to do during their recovery upon discharge, 85 percent of patients at Carle said yes. Both the state and federal averages were 79 percent.

Schmidt said although he did not participate in the survey, he agrees with the high ratings in the hospital’s cleanliness, nurse care and doctors’ abilities to listen and explain to the patient further instructions after discharge.

Hospitals often use their own surveys to gauge patient satisfaction, but those results usually aren’t made public.

The government’s new “Hospital Compare” database helps consumers make more informed decisions about hospitals.

Although Carle rated well, only 2,521 hospitals, fewer than half the nation’s total, participated in the survey because participation was voluntary.

Many of the biggest and best-known hospitals in Chicago, such as the University of Chicago Hospitals, Rush University Medical Center, Stroger Hospital and the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, did not participate.

As an incentive to include more hospitals in the future, the government will start withholding a portion of Medicare payments from hospitals that don’t participate, according to the Health Compare Web site.

“We believe it’s important to be transparent with our community about the quality of care we provide,” Barnes said.

“The results of this survey are yet another resource for patients and family members who are making important decisions about their health care.”