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Keywords:

  • Patient experience;
  • CAHPS;
  • hospitals;
  • gender/sex differences in health and health care

Objective

To examine gender differences in inpatient experiences and how they vary by dimensions of care and other patient characteristics.

Data Source

A total of 1,971,632 patients (medical and surgical service lines) discharged from 3,830 hospitals, July 2007–June 2008, and completing the HCAHPS survey.

Study Design

We compare the experiences of male and female inpatients on 10 HCAHPS dimensions using multiple linear regression, adjusting for survey mode and patient mix. Additional models add additional patient characteristics and their interactions with patient gender.

Principal Findings

We find generally less positive experiences for women than men, especially for Communication about Medicines, Discharge Information, and Cleanliness. Gender differences are similar in magnitude to previously reported HCAHPS differences by race/ethnicity. The gender gap is generally larger for older patients and for patients with worse self-reported health status. Gender disparities are largest in for-profit hospitals.

Conclusions

Targeting the experiences of women may be a promising means of improving overall patient experience scores (because women comprise a majority of all inpatients); the experiences of older and sicker women, and those in for-profit hospitals, may merit additional examination.