Do medical inpatients who report poor service quality experience more adverse events and medical errors?
Prior research has demonstrated that problems with service quality—for example, waits and delays, poor communication, and poor amenities—are common in hospitals. While patients tend to identify these issues when surveyed about problems they perceive with the quality of care they receive, no relationship has yet been identified between service quality and patient safety. This AHRQ-funded study used retrospective chart review to correlate patients' complaints of poor service quality with documented adverse events and found that patient-reported instances of poor service quality were associated with double the risk of medical errors. The authors hypothesize that some factors associated with the quality of medical care, such as communication between team members, may also be reflected in service quality.