Interest has been growing among academic medical centers (AMCs) in organization-wide strategies that may improve patient satisfaction. Although leadership development programs have been cited as a potentially useful approach, thus far almost all evidence has come from single-organization case studies. The present study sought to examine potential relationships between leadership development and patient experience across organizations. Data for leadership development practices were obtained from a survey conducted by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership. Patient experience data were obtained from the U.S. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). Multivariate analyses (general linear regressions) were performed to examine the influences of leadership development practice on HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores after controlling for organization characteristics. A total of 23 AMCs met criteria for the study. Multivariate regression analyses identified statistically significant relationships between patient satisfaction scores and three leadership development dimensions: incorporating administrative fellowships, strategically aligning leadership development, and the overall composite score. Findings provide preliminary evidence that leadership development practices may be another useful strategy for improving patient experience outcomes. Future studies involving larger samples are needed to determine how generalizable these findings may be, as well as which specific leadership development practices may be most impactful. This is the only study we are aware of that links leadership development practices to patient experience outcomes at the organization level.

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