Challenging the holy grail of hospital accreditation: A cross sectional study of inpatient satisfaction in the field of cardiologyReport as inadecuate

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BMC Health Services Research

, 10:120

First Online: 12 May 2010Received: 29 September 2009Accepted: 12 May 2010DOI: 10.1186-1472-6963-10-120

Cite this article as: Sack, C., Lütkes, P., Günther, W. et al. BMC Health Serv Res 2010 10: 120. doi:10.1186-1472-6963-10-120


BackgroundSubjective parameters such as quality of life or patient satisfaction gain importance as outcome parameters and benchmarks in health care. In many countries hospitals are now undergoing accreditation as mandatory or voluntary measures. It is believed but unproven that accreditations positively influence quality of care and patient satisfaction. The present study aims to assess in a defined specialty cardiology the relationship between patient satisfaction as measured by the recommendation rate and accreditation status.

MethodsConsecutive patients discharged from 25 cardiology units received a validated patient satisfaction questionnaire. Data from 3,037 patients response rate > 55% became available for analysis. Recommendation rate was used as primary endpoint. Different control variables such as staffing level were considered.

ResultsThe 15 accredited units did not differ significantly from the 10 non-accredited units regarding main hospital i.e. staffing levels, no. of beds and patient age, gender characteristics. The primary endpoint -recommendation rate of a given hospital- for accredited hospitals 65.6%, 95% Confidence Interval CI 63.4 - 67.8% and hospitals without accreditation 65.8%, 95% CI 63.1 - 68.5% was not significantly different.

ConclusionOur results support the notion that - at least in the field of cardiology - successful accreditation is not linked with measurable better quality of care as perceived by the patient and reflected by the recommendation rate of a given institution. Hospital accreditation may represent a step towards quality management, but does not seem to improve overall patient satisfaction.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6963-10-120 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Cornelia Sack - Peter Lütkes - Wolfram Günther - Raimund Erbel - Karl-Heinz Jöckel - Gerald J Holtmann


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