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Top 10 Metro Areas for Emergency Department Satisfaction Released by Press Ganey

August 10, 2011

Miami, Hartford and Indianapolis ranked at the top in Press Ganey’s annual report on patient satisfaction in hospital emergency departments. A survey of more than 1.6 million patients treated at 1,908 hospitals nationwide between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2010 gauged their experiences and how satisfied they were with the treatment they received in the emergency department.

Press Ganey ranked the major metro areas (population of at least 1 million) based on an overall score. The top 10 results include:

Rank  Major Metro Area Score      
1 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale  87.0
2    Hartford, Conn.         86.8
3   Indianapolis      86.5
4   Columbus, Ohio    86.4
5    Milwaukee     86.2
6    New Orleans   85.6
-    Boston        85.6
-    Philadelphia         85.6
9    Detroit     85.3
10    Chicago       85.2

In smaller metro areas (population less than 1 million), the top 10 Press Ganey rankings include:

Rank  Smaller Metro Area Score     
1        Wichita, Kan.         88.2
2      Madison, Wis.           87.4
3     Grand Rapids, Mich.      86.8
4      Greenville, S.C.     86.4
5     Honolulu, Hawaii    86.2
6     Allentown-Bethlehem, Pa.     85.8
-      Dayton, Ohio     85.8
8      Toledo, Ohio   85.7
-      Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.       85.7
10      Baton Rouge, La.       85.6


"Hospitals in these metro areas have done a good job in satisfying the needs of the patients in the emergency department," said Deirdre Mylod, vice president, hospital services, Press Ganey. "As hospitals are facing increasing challenges, patients in these markets are reporting that they are more satisfied than those in other markets."

One additional key finding from the survey is that regardless of what metro area they are in, patients placed the highest priority on being kept informed about emergency department delays – a higher emphasis over such factors as how well pain was controlled and overall rating of the care received.

"Patients would, of course, prefer a more efficient process," said Mylod. "But good communication helps them understand the processes within the emergency department environment and shows them that staff has not forgotten them. Frequent, proactive communication improves both the quality of patient care and the manner in which patients perceive their care. Hospitals ranked at the top of these metro area lists likely have good communications procedures, among other factors, in place to make patients more satisfied."

Many hospitals are instituting procedures such as whiteboards in exam rooms to keep patients informed about treatments or delays. Also, welcome letters or pamphlets provided by the hospital help patients understand the process of triage, treatment, etc.

In addition to improved communications, hospitals can also evaluate how inefficient patient flow throughout the hospital can lead to delays and lower satisfaction levels in the emergency department.

"Patient flow bottlenecks have a profound impact on a hospital's quality of care," added Mylod. "By examining and changing the patient flow process, including changing operating room schedules, hospitals can ultimately avoid overcrowding, diversions and boarding in the emergency department."

Other results of improved patient flow include reducing waiting times for emergent/urgent surgeries by 25-50%, increasing compliance rate for waiting time guidelines to approximately 90% and enhanced patient and staff satisfaction.

Press Ganey Associates, Inc.
Recognized as a leader in performance improvement for 25 years, Press Ganey partners with more than 10,000 health care organizations to create and sustain high performing organizations, and, ultimately, improve the overall health care experience. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to help clients operate efficiently, improve quality, increase market share and optimize reimbursement. Press Ganey works with clients from across the continuum of care – hospitals, medical practices, home care agencies and other providers – including 50% of all U.S. hospitals. For more information, visit

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Press Ganey's patient satisfaction improvement and patient experience improvement solutions drive targeted healthcare performance improvement for providers across the continuum, including hospitals, medical practices and ambulatory care settings. Press Ganey's clinicians, behavioral scientists and statisticians use advanced healthcare analytics and a deep database of healthcare benchmarks to reveal opportunities that enhance patient care, improve outcomes and control costs. To drive hospital quality improvement, Press Ganey focuses on understanding the perspectives of internal stakeholders, measuring employee engagement, physician engagement and patient engagement, and capturing the voice of the patient to help prioritize improvement efforts.