Document Type


Publication Date



BACKGROUND: We previously validated a 5-item compassion measure to assess patient experience of clinician compassion in the outpatient setting. However, currently, there is no validated and feasible method for health care systems to measure patient experience of clinician compassion in the inpatient setting across multiple hospitals.

OBJECTIVE: To test if the 5-item compassion measure can validly and distinctly measure patient assessment of physician and nurse compassion in the inpatient setting.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study between July 1 and July 31, 2020, in a US health care network of 91 community hospitals across 16 states consisting of approximately 15,000 beds.

PATIENTS: Adult patients who had an inpatient hospital stay and completed the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

MEASUREMENTS: We adapted the original 5-item compassion measure to be specific for physicians, as well as for nurses. We disseminated both measures with the HCAHPS survey and used confirmatory factor analysis for validity testing. We tested reliability using Cronbach's alpha, as well as convergent validity with patient assessment of physician and nursing communication and overall hospital rating questions from HCAHPS.

RESULTS: We analyzed 4756 patient responses. Confirmatory factor analysis found good fit for two distinct constructs (i.e., physician and nurse compassion). Both measures demonstrated good internal consistency (alpha > 0.90) and good convergent validity but reflected a construct (compassionate care) distinct from what is currently captured in HCAHPS.

CONCLUSION: We validated two 5-item tools that can distinctly measure patient experience of physician and nurse compassion for use in the inpatient hospital setting in conjunction with HCAHPS.

Publication Title

Journal of General Internal Medicine

First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID



This article was published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, pages 1-7.

The published version is available at

Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). CC BY 4.0.