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IMPORTANCE

There is an increasing trend toward designing hospitals with patient-centered features like reduced noise, improved natural light, visitor friendly facilities, well-decorated rooms, and hotel-like amenities. It has also been suggested that because patients cannot reliably distinguish positive experiences with the physical environment from positive experience with care, an improved hospital environment leads to higher satisfaction with physicians, nursing, food service, housekeeping, and higher overall satisfaction.

OBJECTIVE

To characterize changes in patient satisfaction that occurred when clinical services (comprised of stable nursing, physician, and unit teams) were relocated to a new clinical building with patient-centered features. We hypothesized that new building features would positively impact provider, ancillary staff, and overall satisfaction, as well as improved satisfaction with the facility.

DESIGN

Natural experiment utilizing a pre-post design with concurrent controls.

SETTING

Academic tertiary care hospital.

PARTICIPANTS

We included all patients discharged from 12 clinical units that relocated to the new clinical building who returned surveys in the 7.5-month period following the move. Premove baseline data were captured from the year prior to the move. Patients on unmoved clinical units who returned satisfaction surveys served as concurrent controls.

EXPOSURE

Patient-centered design features incorporated into the new clinical building. All patients during the baseline period and control patients during the study period were located in usual patient rooms with standard hospital amenities.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES

The primary outcome was satisfaction scores on the Press Ganey and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, dichotomized at highest category versus lower categories. We performed logistic regression to identify predictors of “top-box” scores.

RESULTS

The move was associated with improved room- and visitor-related satisfaction without significant improvement in satisfaction with clinical providers, ancillary staff, and only 1 of 4 measures of overall satisfaction improved. The most prominent increase was with pleasantness of décor (33.6% vs 64.8%) and visitor accommodation and comfort (50.0% vs 70.3%).

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE

Patients responded positively to pleasing surroundings and comfort, but were able to discriminate their experiences with the hospital environment from those with physicians and nurses. The move to a new building had significant impact on only 1 of the 4 measures of overall patient satisfaction, as clinical care is likely to be the most important determinant of this outcome. Hospital administrators should not use outdated facilities as an excuse for suboptimal provider satisfaction scores. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2015;10:165–171. © 2014 Society of Hospital Medicine