Objectives: Given the growing recognition of patient-centeredness as a healthcare quality indicator and its limited implementation in practice, our study evaluated how the Italian hospitals (ItHs), including research hospitals (IRCCSs), research teaching hospitals (THs), and independent public hospital trusts (AOs), address the dimension of online data access through their institutional Web sites to promote a patient-centered care. Materials and Methods: To address patient-centeredness and e-health, eight specific indicators adapted from the Euro Health Consumer Index were evaluated from 169 ItHs: online booking of healthcare services; access to medical records; register of legitimate doctors; waiting times for most commonly delivered healthcare services; transport information; centralized booking; public relations office; and pain management hospital committee. Univariate and bivariate statistics and a logistic regression analysis have been performed. Results: The majority of the ItHs were under public ownership, and half of them are located in Northern Italy. From the logistic regression analysis, AOs appeared to be more likely to develop a patient-centered healthcare approach (odds ratio [OR]=3.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14-11.89) compared with IRCCSs or THs. In addition, when grouped together, all public hospitals show more than threefold higher implementation of patient-centeredness strategies (OR=3.60; 95% CI 1.49-8.72) with respect to private ones. Northern hospitals are more likely to ensure wider implementation of a patient-centered approach to healthcare (OR=3.37; 95% CI 1.49-7.62). Conclusions: According to our results, most of the ItHs are under public ownership, and half of them are located in the northern regions of Italy. The higher implementation of patient-centeredness strategies observed for Northern hospitals highlights interregional disparity in healthcare that needs a coordinated effort at both the hospital and policymaker levels to ensure a widespread implementation of patient-centered care among all Italian regions. © 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
- doctor and patient communication