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The importance of experienced adverse outcomes on patients' future choice of a hospital for surgery


Objective To assess whether patients who experience adverse outcomes during hospitalisation or after discharge differ in the information they would use for future choices of a hospital for surgery compared with patients without any adverse outcomes.

Design Cross-sectional questionnaire study, including questions on (1) adverse outcome occurrence during hospitalisation and after discharge, (2) information patients would use for future hospital choice and (3) priority of information.

Setting Three hospitals in the western part of The Netherlands.

Study sample All 2122 patients who underwent elective aorta reconstruction (for treatment of aneurysm), cholecystectomy, colon resection, inguinal hernia repair, oesophageal resection or thyroid surgery in the period 2005–2006, of whom 1329 (62.6%) responded.

Results Patients who experienced postdischarge adverse outcomes intend to use more information items to choose a future hospital (on average 1.6 items more). They more often would use the item on information provision during hospitalisation (OR 2.35 (1.37 to 4.03)) and information on various quality-of-care measures, compared with patients without adverse outcomes. Patients who experienced in-hospital adverse outcomes would not use more information items but more often would use the item on mortality after surgery (OR 1.93 (1.27 to 2.94)) and extended hospital stay (OR 1.61 (1.10 to 2.36)). However, when asked for priority of information, previous treatment in that hospital is mentioned as the most important item by most patients (32%), regardless of adverse outcome occurrence, followed by hospital reputation and waiting time.

Conclusions Adverse outcome experience may change the information patients use (on quality of care) to choose a future hospital.

  • Quality of care
  • surgery
  • adverse outcomes
  • decision-making
  • patient outcomes
  • adverse event

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