The impact of work-place social capital in hospitals on patient-reported quality of care: a cohort study of 5205 employees and 23,872 patients in Denmark

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Alice Clark
  • Thim Praetorius
  • Eszter Torok
  • Ulla Arthur Hvidtfeldt
  • Peter Hasle
  • Rod, Naja Hulvej

Background: Decision-makers increasingly consider patient-reported outcomes as important measures of care quality. Studies on the importance of work-place social capital-a collective work-place resource-for the experience of care quality are lacking. We determined the association between the level of work-place social capital and patient-reported quality of care in 148 hospital sections in the Capital Region of Denmark.

Methods: This cross-sectional study combined section-level social capital from 5205 health care professionals and 23,872 patient responses about care quality. Work-place social capital encompassed three dimensions: trust, justice and collaboration. Patient-reported quality of care was measured as: overall satisfaction, patient involvement, and medical errors. Linear regression analysis and generalized linear models assessed the mean differences in patient reported experience outcomes and the risk of belonging to the lowest tertile of care quality.

Results: A higher level of work-place social capital (corresponding to the interquartile range) was associated with higher patient-reported satisfaction and inpatient and acute care patient involvement. The risk of a section belonging to the lowest tertile of patient involvement was lower in sections with higher social capital providing inpatient (RR = 0.39, 0.19-0.81 per IQR increase) and acute care (RR = 0.53, 0.31-0.89). Patient-reported errors were fewer in acute care sections with higher social capital (RR = 0.65, 0.43 to 0.99). The risk of being in the lowest tertile of patient-reported satisfaction was supported for acute care sections (RR = 0.47, 0.28-0.79).

Conclusions: Although we found small absolute differences in the association between patient-reported experience measures and social capital, even a small upward shift in the distribution of social capital in the hospital sector would, at the population level, have a large positive impact on patients' care experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number534
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas


Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 272500016