The Pandemic Influenced a National Decrease In Patients’ Likelihood to Recommend, According to New Press Ganey Findings

Nov 09, 2021

BOSTON (November 4, 2021) At the onset of the pandemic, patient experience trends varied by regions, states and healthcare organizations as COVID surges hit communities at different points in time. Now a national dynamic is taking shape.

Press Ganey, the leader in healthcare consumer and workforce engagement, conducted national analyses of client data to gauge shifts in patients’ likelihood to recommend their healthcare experience to family and friends since the onset of the pandemica trend that remained stable since 2018.

After an initial increase that peaked in March 2020, patients' perceptions of care across all care settings declined, most significantly in areas related to access and brand perceptions: 

  • There was an overall reduction of 4.5% in patients' likelihood to recommend a hospital to their families and friends.1
  • There was an overall reduction of 4% in patients' rating of their hospital 0-10, with 0 being the worst hospital possible and 10 being the best hospital possible.1
  • Overall, New England states saw the greatest decrease in patients’ likelihood to recommend, whereas Southeastern states saw the least amount of change in patients’ perceptions.1
  • Since January 2021, medical practices saw the greatest decreases in likelihood to recommend scores regarding patients’ ability to access timely care, including phone response, ability to book an appointment when needed, seeing a doctor within 15 minutes and timeliness of test results.2
  • Since January 2021, emergency departments saw the greatest decrease in scores around getting care within 30 minutes of showing up to the ED and patients waiting to be acknowledged.3 

One nuance is with COVID patients.

Upon further analysis, Press Ganey juxtaposed responses from patients diagnosed with COVID-19 versus non-COVID patients. Findings showed that 75% of COVID patients would definitely recommend a hospital to their family and friends, compared to 72% for non-COVID patients.4

“At a time when health systems are overrun or implementing crisis standards of care, patient experience should be leveraged as operating data as opposed to punitive data,” said Chrissy Daniels, chief experience officer, Press Ganey. “Rather than emphasizing declines in performance, now is the time for leaders to motivate staff by sharing positive patient comments and to reinforce exemplary behaviors that are key drivers of patient satisfaction.”

It is imperative for healthcare leaders to review these nuances within patient populations and care settings and to drill down deeper to understand the “why” behind these recurring themes.

When rethinking the patient experience and expectations many have grown accustomed to during the pandemic, forward-looking leaders can leverage data-driven decisions to better align operations with patient needs. By expanding upon HCAHPS data and centralizing disparate feedback sourceslike rounding surveys, review sites and social media channelshealth systems can create a holistic foundation to drive wide-scale transformation and improve patient perceptions of care.

To learn more about Press Ganey’s patient experience solutions, visit

Press Ganey Analyses
1 Press Ganey Inpatient HCAHPS Data; March 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021; 1,542 healthcare organizations
2 Press Ganey Medical Practice CG-CAHPS Data; Jan. 1 – July 31, 2021; 1,022 healthcare organizations
3 Press Ganey Emergency Department ED CAHPS Data; Jan. 1 – July 31, 2021; 1,849 healthcare organizations
4 Press Ganey Inpatient HCAHPS Data, COVID-19 diagnosis ICD-10 Code U07.1; Jan. 1 – Sept. 30, 2021; 116 healthcare organizations

About Press Ganey
Press Ganey pioneered the healthcare performance improvement movement 35 years ago. Today Press Ganey offers an integrated suite of solutions that enable enterprise transformation across the patient journey. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address safety, clinical excellence, patient experience and workforce engagement. The company works with more than 41,000 healthcare facilities in its mission to reduce patient suffering and enhance caregiver resilience to improve the overall safety, quality and experience of care.

Media Contact:
Ty Fiesel
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Revised November 9, 2021.