Quality (80) What does quality of care mean to you? (20) Patient experience and health outcomes

2 July, 2021

Neil, thank you for opening the door to discuss links between improvement in health outcomes and patient experience in more depth, which is an important facet of the quality of care. As the utilization of patient experience measures is becoming evermore pervasive, it is pivotal for patients, providers and funders to have a full understanding whether good patient experience actually correlates with improved outcomes. This will also help us to better grasp the drivers of overall health-care utilization.

And this is indeed a field of research that needs more data, as the literature so far is inconsistent. Some studies demonstrate that better patient experiences can be linked to lower rates of mortality, disease complications and hospital readmissions; on the other hand, other reports did not find these types of associations. Such discrepancy is often explained in regards to what domains of patient experience have been analysed. For example, communication with doctors and nurses have shown much more robust association with clinical outcomes than, for example, hospital environment or overall hospital rating.

Consequently, the latter can then be translated to the process of shared decision-making when patients are involved in decisions regarding their care. In a way, healthcare professionals and patients decide together as partners for the benefit of the patient. A recent study by Hughes et al. (10.1016/j.amjsurg.2018.01.011) actually showed that nonexistent or poor shared decision-making can be linked to worse patient-reported health outcomes and higher utilization of healthcare services. Hence, the role of shared decision-making between patients and providers has an intrinsic value to patient experience and quality outcomes, and should be always taken into account when discussing quality of care.

HIFA profile: Tomislav Mestrovic is a medical doctor and a clinical microbiologist with a PhD in biomedical sciences, and an Assistant Professor at Croatia's youngest public university, University North. He is also passionately invested in global health communication, health literacy, science journalism and science diplomacy. Tomislav was appointed by the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia as a Managing Committee Member to COST Action on evidence-based medicine run by the European Union. He holds several positions in international societies that resulted in many volunteering initiatives. Tomislav is the current holder of the HIFA Country Representative of the Year award (2020) and is also the European coordinator for HIFA Country Representatives. He is also a member of the HIFA-WHO working group on Learning for quality health services.



Email address: tomislav.mestrovic AT gmail.com