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Patient satisfaction up at near record levels

Patient satisfaction up at near record levels

1 April 2008

Patient satisfaction is up to near record levels, says the Ministry of Health.

Hospital Benchmark Information (HBI) reports are produced quarterly by the Ministry of Health and track the performance of all public hospitals in New Zealand against 15 key performance measures.

The reports help hospitals measure their performance against one another and look for ways to improve, says Chief Clinical Advisor Dr Sandy Dawson.

Among the performance measures are triage rates (emergency department waiting times), patient satisfaction, average length of stay and acute readmissions.

Patient satisfaction levels are the second highest since the Ministry of Health began measuring them in 2000.

In the latest October to December 2007 quarter, levels of overall patient satisfaction are high, at a near record national level of 88.5 percent, up from 87.7 percent last quarter.

"The vast majority of patients are clearly satisfied with their encounter with the public health system. Most patients receive excellent care from hardworking health professionals," says Dr Dawson.

All DHBs met the target for treating Triage 1 patients in emergency departments. Triage 1 is the most urgent category and DHBs are expected to see 100 percent of patients in this category immediately.

Eight DHBs met or exceeded the target for Triage 2 with 80 percent of patients seen within 10 minutes. Seven DHBs met the target for treating 75 per cent of Triage 3 patients within the recommended 30 minutes.

Since March 2007, DHBs have been reporting the number of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections against the number of bed days in hospital.

The focus on S. aureus infections is because they are one cause of poor outcomes for patients, they usually result from healthcare procedures such as the insertion of catheters and the introduction of the infection through surgery, and they are potentially avoidable.

Figures show the national infection rates for the December 2007 quarter was 0.12 infections per 1000 bed days.

"We expect to see a high degree of statistical variability in these figures over time, and so it is difficult to draw any conclusions about DHB performance at this early stage of data collection," says Dr Dawson.

Tairawhiti, Wairarapa, West Coast and Whanganui DHBs reported no S. aureus bloodstream infections in this quarter.

For a copy of the reports go to: report-octdec07


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