Continuous patient feedback can give important information to hospitals about the quality of care they provide. The Patient Comment Card (PCC), a brief form that can be used to gather open-ended comments from patients and to measure quality, was developed during a two-year period and was extensively evaluated in a series of three pilot tests involving more than 2,000 patients discharged from five hospitals. Evaluation results demonstrate that the questionnaire elicits useful comments from patients and can generate statistically reliable scores and valid quality measures. However, in a field trial in four hospitals, low response rates (15%-27%) reflected, first, lack of follow-up of non-respondents, and second, the fact that most of the PCC quality scores were upwardly biased; these inflated scores were likely to reflect the low response rate. Tools such as the PCC should be used judiciously, given the possible abuses and misinterpretations of hospital quality scores.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_ware/74/