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'Winter Blues' Affect Hospital Patients, According to New Press Ganey Data

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 General News J E 4
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SOUTH BEND, Ind., April 21 Every April, hospital administrators wonder why their patient satisfaction scores are considerably lower over the months of January, February and March. According to Press Ganey Associates, a major factor for the decline in patient satisfaction is because of the "winter blues."

Regardless of region, Press Ganey data shows a dip in satisfaction levels during colder months. For the period of January-March through the past five years, patient satisfaction scores dropped.

"Several reasons can be attributed to the decline in patient satisfaction scores during the winter months," said Dennis Kaldenberg, PhD, chief scientist at Press Ganey. "The January-March time period is often the time period with the highest occupancy and patient acuity for the hospital. Secondly, more patients are admitted through the emergency departments during these months - and patients who enter the hospital through an ER generally report lower satisfaction levels."

Patients admitted through the emergency department typically are challenged by patient flow issues due to higher winter occupancy. The lack of available beds or placement in temporary units generally leads to less satisfying patient experiences.

"A third reason for overall patient dissatisfaction is because patients may be more likely to be depressed during winter months - either because of weather or their health," said Kaldenberg. "Depression has been linked to lower ratings of service delivery."

Press Ganey Associates, Inc.

For 25 years, Press Ganey has been committed to providing insight that allows health care organizations to improve the quality of care they provide while improving their bottom-line results. The company offers the largest comparative customer feedback databases, actionable data, solution resources, and unparalleled consulting and customer service. Press Ganey currently partners with more than 10,000 health care facilities--including over 40% of U.S. hospitals--to measure and improve the quality of their care. For more information, visit www.pressganey.com.

SOURCE Press Ganey Associates, Inc.
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