A new study conducted by Dr. Witkoski-Stimpfel at NYUCN and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research and published in Health Services Research shows that Magnet hospitals that are nationally accredited for nursing excellence have higher patient ratings of care than other hospitals.
In order to increase focus on patient experience and quality improvement, the Affordable Care Act incentivises hospitals to improve patient satisfaction by paying them a financial incentive if they achieve high ratings from patients.
This study suggests that hospitals that seek to do so and qualify for new financial incentives would fare even better if they invested in nursing excellence.
"One straightforward strategy to improve patients' experience, and thus improve the performance scores, involves registered nurses," says Amy Witkoski-Stimpfel, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN). "Research has shown that patients' experience with hospital care is significantly related to whether or not hospitals are well-resourced with respect to nursing, as nurses are the ones providing the most direct patient care in hospitals."
Despite evidence that patient outcomes are usually better in hospitals that have good nurse work environments, it has still been a challenge to translate this evidence into practice. The Magnet recognition programme could be one method that could facilitate the implementation of improvements in nurse work environments. Magnet recognised hospitals do show superior patient outcomes and also have lower patient mortality and higher nurse satisfaction.
The researchers evaluated the performance of 212 Magnet hospitals and compared them to 212 matched non-Magnet hospitals. The performance was compared on the basis of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. The assessment, the most comprehensive to date, showed that patients who received care in Magnet hospitals had greater satisfaction with their care as compared to those who received care in non-Magnet hospitals. The primary reason why Magnet hospitals fare better may be because the Magnet recognition process emphasises on innovation; evidence-based, patient-centered care; and a collaborative culture. Together, these elements are likely to play an important role in providing patients a favourable experience.
Overall, the study concludes that nursing excellence may be the key to achieving good hospital ratings from patients.
Source: New York University
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