Discovery papers

The Relationship between Inpatient Length of Stay and HCAHPS Scores

By Randy Carden, Ed.D. Senior Research Consultant and Jim Eggers, Chad Wrye, and Paul No Research Analysts

Few studies have been conducted on length of stay (LOS) and patient satisfaction, and studies of this type have mixed results. In the past, LOS has been associated with both higher and lower patient satisfaction. No studies have compared LOS and HCAHPS scores. 

This HealthStream study, conducted by Research Analysts Jim Eggers, Chad Wrye, and Paul No, under the leadership of Randy Carden, Ed.D., Senior Research Consultant, examined the relationship between inpatient length of stay (LOS) and patient ratings of the hospital as measured by HCAHPS scores. We compared LOS with HCAHPS scores from inpatients of 602 hospitals and determined that LOS was associated with HCAHPS scores. HCAHPS scores tended to decline as LOS increased across most HCAHPS categories, although discharge planning increased as LOS increased.

Findings of this analysis include:

  • There was a relationship between LOS and HCAHPS Scores
  • Lengthening of the patient stay affected some HCAHPS categories more than others
  • There was a LOS threshold where scores changed significantly
  • One HCAHPS category was outside the general LOS-dependent scoring trend

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