Patient experience vs. clinical quality

Published: 2013-08-06

Professor Ken Boyer, PhD candidate Claire Senot, and Assistant Professor Aravind Chandrasekaran

What should matter most in hospital health care: patient experience or clinical quality? The easy -- and correct -- answer is both.

A study conducted by Fisher's Ken Boyer (pictured left), Claire Senot, and Aravind Chandrasekaran found that implementing process management initiatives in hospital settings can mitigate and eventually cancel the tradeoff that exists between the experiences of patients and the quality of care they receive.

The study surveyed almost 300 acute care hospitals in 44 states and found that:

  • Patient experience is diminished when hospitals choose improving clinical quality over patient experience.
  • The gap that exists between the two is attributable to a number of causes, including state legislation requiring the reporting of clinical quality statistics. 

The study also noted that hospitals that have been quick to implement process management in the face of legislation reported significant increases in available resources to make improvements to patient experience. Additionally, hospital leaders who have focused on improving patient experience rather than on enhancing internal quality fared the best in both categories.