The Patient Experience Has Changed Healthcare Delivery.
Medical facilities are being held to increased quality standards by federal oversight as well as the general public. Despite the fact that the patient experience should be a primary factor in the delivery of healthcare, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is one survey that many medical facilities are struggling to understand and perfect. Due to the importance of the patient’s perspective of care and their inpatient total experience, healthcare facilities should make HCAHPS the focus of education, training, and competencies from day one of employee orientation.
What is HCAHPS?
HCAHPS is a survey and scoring system utilized by hospitals in order to obtain standardized data measuring patient’s perspectives (collected via phone, mail, and Interactive Voice Response) on their care during their inpatient hospital experience. The survey is a total of 32 questions including:
- 4 Screener Questions
- 7 Demographic Items
- 21 Patient Items Rating their Perspectives on Care in 9 healthcare categories:
- Communication with Doctors
- Communication with Nurses
- Responsiveness of the Hospital Staff
- Pain Management
- Communication about Medications
- Hospital Discharge Information
- Cleanliness of the Hospital Environment
- Quietness of the Hospital Environment
- Transition of Care
How Does HCAHPS Affect Healthcare Facilities and their Patients?
A portion of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement to hospitals is based on HCAHPS scores. CMS utilizes the Hospital Value Based Purchasing Program which calculates payment based on a score comprised of two large components. In 2013, 30% of 100% of the total score was the Patient Care Experience Domain (HCAHPS Survey). So, in order for hospitals to keep their doors open, they have no choice but to cooperate with CMS’s focus on quality and outcomes since they determine global healthcare standards.
Patients benefit from the HCAHPS Survey because they have online access to comparison shop for hospitals using the results of the survey’s scores. HCAHPS increases the quality of healthcare delivery for consumers and drives competition in the marketplace.
How Can Healthcare Facilities Increase Their HCAHPS Scores?
With this knowledge, hospitals are scrambling to make sure they are performing to the best of their ability while keeping a close eye on their competitor’s survey’s results. Potential ways that hospitals can improve their scores are:
1. Start the training process from day one of staff orientation. With HCAHPS affecting a large portion of reimbursement for care and continued hospital operation, it pays to begin HCAHPS training on the first day of staff orientation. In fact, by remodeling your whole organization’s hospital orientation utilizing the HCAHPS Survey and standards as a framework, an organization could potentially increase their scores significantly.
2. Train your staff to be HCAHPS Standards experts. HCAPHS training and education cannot stop after orientation and only be addressed in a yearly required in-service. While all staff should be regularly updated and trained, nurses should receive intense education on HCAPHS because they are at the front lines of healthcare while spending more time with patient than any other staff member. Nurses have the most potential to improve scores so they should be trained as experts in HCAHPS throughout their career with the organization, and held to competency requirements.
3. Talent Management Software can help improve HCAHPS Scores. In order to be successful, an orientation and education HCAHPS curriculum overhaul should be combined with a talent management program like that provided by Halogen Software. Halogen’s Talent Management Software allows a hospital to track employee performance as well as education and competency while being inspection ready.
Has your organization increased their HCAHPS significantly over the last couple years? If not, revamp your employee’s educational programs using these tips and Halogen Talent Management Software to improve your organization’s scores.
Disclosure: This content has been brought to you by Halogen Software, the market leader in talent management software. Bringing value to nurses is at the forefront of Halogen Software’s goals so they are partnering with nurse leaders online to bring attention to important issues that healthcare organizations face every day. To find out more Halogen Software and the support they can provide to your nursing staff check out their healthcare page.