Today’s landscape is rife with examples of the consumerization of healthcare. There is tacit agreement that patients are increasingly bearing a greater share of healthcare costs, and as a result are demanding better, more responsive service. This phenomenon has, in some measure, fueled the surge to deliver patient-centered care.
Yet there is another factor that has surpassed consumerization as a raison d’être for hospitals to ensure a stellar patient experience. Medicare reimbursements are inextricably tied to patient satisfaction. Fully a quarter of a hospital’s CMS Total Performance Score is derived from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey. Consisting of 32 questions that span nine topics, the HCAHPS Survey impacts hospitals’ eligibility for incentive-based payments.
These three solid strategies can put your hospital on the road to improve patient satisfaction and achieve higher HCAHPS scores.
Commit to Hourly Rounding: Following a literature review, Stanford Health Care developed a Purposeful Rounding Protocol for nurses. It outlines eight behaviors designed to improve patient satisfaction and quality of care while increasing efficiency. These include addressing patient pain and positioning, conducting an environmental assessment, communicating clear expectations, and documenting the round. As a result, patients were less anxious, experienced 52 percent fewer falls, and received better pain management. Patient satisfaction scores increased 12 percent.
Consistently Respond to Call Lights: While hourly rounding decreases patient use of call lights by almost 38 percent, a timely response to patient requests is crucial to increasing HCAHPS scores. An important first step is to develop protocols for who handles the incoming requests. Next, protocols should outline how requests are transmitted, who is responsible for responding to the patient, and how long the process should take. The equally important second step is to communicate a clear set of expectations to the patient. A helpful third step is to install nurse call cables that break away from wall outlets, ensuring that patients aren’t hindered by broken cables. As a result of these steps, staff and patients are on the same proverbial page, and satisfaction increases for both groups.
Deliver Patient Education: The consumerization of healthcare means that patients are active participants in their own care. Hospitals can leverage this trend to improve patient outcomes by providing tailored yet detailed patient education material. Hospital patients and their visiting family members have the time and capacity to focus on relevant information. Doing so will increase their knowledge of the patient’s condition and pave the way for a successful recovery. In a literature review on post-surgical patients, researchers found patient education interventions cut hospital readmissions by 14 percent. Patient education therefore not only boosts patient satisfaction, but also decreases readmission rates, another metric by which CMS determines incentive payments.
While researchers disagree on whether positive patient experiences improve health outcomes, patient satisfaction scores can make or break hospital reimbursements. It pays – literally – to take bold steps to boost HCAHPS scores.
Improving HCAHPS scores is a critical hospital revenue management strategy. Hatchmed delivers an important support tool in the form of the Talon Mount, a universal tablet mount for hospital bed rails, IV poles, and wheelchairs. A patient-accessible tablet, secured by the Talon Mount, supports patient-nurse communication, displays patient education materials, provides environmental controls and entertainment – and expedites delivery of the HCAHPS Survey