News & Views


Experience (and Relationships!) Impact Our Health Outcomes

By Kim LaFontana

As discussed in a recent New York Times Upshot post, Which Metrics on Hospital Quality Should Patients Pay Attention To?, metrics that measure patient experience (HCAHPS scores) are correlated with reduced readmission rates and even decreased 365 day mortality measures. How can this be? Why would ‘happier’ patients have better outcomes?

Here at Docent Health we see something more fundamental at play. Our work with patients at hospitals in New York, California and Arizona demonstrates that building meaningful relationships with patients – listening to their unique needs, offering assistance that they truly value and need, taking their preferences into account – results in very significant benefits to the hospital and the patient. We measure fundamental changes in patient behavior – attendance at education classes, discharge readiness, even readmission rates – and see the impact of having better informed, engaged patients. Their HCAHPS ‘satisfaction’ is also higher which is great, but is only one of the very positive impacts associated with investing in knowing and building relationships with patients.

For those who want to dig deeper here (and we certainly did – see our notations on the data table!) the study that the Upshot refers to is, Evaluating Measures of Hospital Quality. It shows stronger correlation of positive experience with outcomes metrics (readmission and correlation) than even the ‘process’ metrics that hospitals hold themselves to.

And if you’d like to learn more about Docent’s unique and high value approach to cultivating impactful relationships with patients, please visit us at or email us at info[at]