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Hospitals should understand women's lifetime health care needs, how they make health care decisions, Healthgrades survey shows

Wednesday, June 25 2014 | Comments
Evidence Grade 0 What's This?
Because women live longer than men do, hospitals need to understand how women make their health care decisions and what their needs are.

Harris Poll performed a survey on behalf of Healthgrades among 1,116 demographically diverse women and found that women consulted at least three resources (e.g., physician, family/friends, Internet) when evaluating or selecting health care providers. They prioritized the level of influence these resources had in the decision-making process according to their age and specific health care needs, and they placed higher importance on quality outcomes than on distance to providers, out-of-pocket costs and insurance coverage.

The survey found that integrating the needs of the patient by sex is integral to the success of hospitals' business development. Hospitals that want to establish lifelong relationships with women should start with obstetrics, as giving birth is often a woman's first encounter with a hospital.

In fact, 65 percent of the survey respondents indicated they would very likely/fairly likely choose a hospital with a five-star rating for a normal delivery if they knew that there was a 45 percent lower risk of having a complication (compared with the national average). The percentage was 70 percent for cesarean delivery if they knew there was a 74 percent lower risk of having complications (compared with the national average).

"Thus, as women consider where to deliver their baby, a hospital with a distinction of high-quality maternity care can differentiate itself by educating women in its community about their excellence in care," Healthgrades noted.

Gynecological surgery is another opportunity for hospitals to provide an exceptional experience of care that can affect the lifetime value of women patients. Healthgrades found that there was a 57.5 percent lower risk of complications in gynecological surgery by selecting a hospital with a five-star rating. When asked the likelihood of choosing a hospital with a five-star rating, 71 percent of the respondents indicated they would be very likely/fairly likely to choose a five-star rated hospital.

Women's health care is another area where hospitals can maximize the value of a female patient during her lifespan. Women's health care includes care provided to women aged older than 65 years for common conditions and procedures that are treated in the hospital. The survey results revealed that 67 percent of women aged 65 years or older would not sacrifice quality if it meant that insurance would cover a larger portion of the surgery.

Healthgrades concluded that hospitals should put effort into communicating quality services to women throughout their lifetime to attract and keep female patients.

The report complemented the release of hospitals that have achieved the 2014 Healthgrades Maternity Care Excellence Award, the 2014 Healthgrades Gynecological Surgery Excellence Award and the 2014 Healthgrades Women's Health Excellence Award.

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