OBJECTIVE

To examine the content and actionability of written comments from parents and guardians on the Child Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (Child HCAHPS) survey.

METHODS

We coded 548 narrative text comments linked to demographic information from the Child HCAHPS survey from July 2017 to December 2020 about inpatient pediatric care at an urban children’s hospital-within-a-hospital at an academic medical center. We developed initial codes based on research findings and the content of the Child HCAHPS survey, and also added codes that emerged from the comments. We performed directed and conventional content analysis.

RESULTS

Most comments were positive and provided by the child’s mother. About half referred to content on the Child HCAHPS survey, primarily on being treated with courtesy and respect or explaining care at discharge. Comments about other topics most frequently provided a narrative rating of the provider or described whether providers were caring and friendly. Thirty-nine percent of comments were deemed sufficiently specific to make improvements (ie, actionable) in inpatient pediatric care; negative comments or comments about care for sicker patients were more often actionable.

CONCLUSIONS

Child HCAHPS comments provided rich detail and a large portion were deemed actionable. Comments also provided insights into topics both on the survey itself and on many other inpatient pediatric issues raised by parents and guardians. More research is needed on the value of Child HCAHPS comments, the association between Child HCAHPS open-ended and closed-ended responses, and how quality leaders and frontline staff use comments to improve inpatient pediatric care.

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