The patient experience is one of the most important aspects of health care, along with patient safety. A recent study from UNC Health Care examined the link between the two in whether a higher number of unsolicited patient opinion comments correlates with increased risk of complications.
Of the 31,125 patients in the study, researchers found that those whose surgeons had a higher number of instances of unsolicited patient opinions were at greater risk for complications. The goal of the study was to test the hypothetical link between patient dissatisfaction and malpractice lawsuits.
The authors concluded that patient dissatisfaction is an indicator of a higher risk of malpractice and complications, and that providers should focus on improving the patient experience to make treatment even more safe:
Patients whose surgeons have large numbers of unsolicited patient observations in the 24 months prior to the patient’s operation are at increased risk of surgical and medical complications. Efforts to promote patient safety and address risk of malpractice claims should continue to focus on surgeons’ ability to communicate respectfully and effectively with patients and other medical professionals.