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Methodology: New England’s Best Hospitals Rated By Patients

Monday, January 07, 2013


To rank New England's Best Hospitals Rated by Patients, GoLocal began with the results of the latest Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, also known as the HCAHPS Survey.

The HCAHPS Survey, also known as the CAHPS® Hospital Survey or Hospital CAHPS®, is a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology that has been in use since 2006 to measure patients' perspectives of hospital care. A partnership of public and private organizations funded by the Federal government, specifically the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), created HCAHPS (pronounced "H-caps") to publicly report the patient’s perspective of hospital care. The HCAHPS results posted on Hospital Compare allow consumers to make fair and objective comparisons between hospitals and with state and national averages, on important measures of patients' perspectives of care.

How the Survey Works

The survey asks a random sample of patients to give feedback about topics, such as how well nurses and doctors communicated, how responsive hospital staff were to patient needs, how well the hospital controlled patients' pain, and the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment. Patients are the best sources of information on these topics.

The following topics guided the survey questions:

1) How often did nurses communicate well with patients?
2) How often did doctors communicate well with patients?
3) How often did patients receive help quickly from hospital staff?
4) How often was patients' pain well controlled?
5) How often did staff explain about medicines before giving them to patients?
6) How often were the patients' rooms and bathrooms kept clean?
7) How often was the area around patients' rooms kept quiet at night?
8) Were patients given information about what to do during their recovery at home?
9) How do patients rate the hospital overall?
10) Would patients recommend the hospital to friends and family?

For a sampling of patient responses to all 176 New England hospitals, see the Chart, here.

From Data to Rankings

GoLocal's researchers compiled the summary percentages of each rating of each New England Hospital covered by the HCAHPS survey, and applied a proprietary weighting of and formula tabulating patients' ratings. Those final sums determined each hospital's ranking position.


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