Developed to promote transparency and improve quality of care, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scoring system is “the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Think of these publicly reported results as a report card of sorts that show quality comparisons to other local, regional, and national hospitals with data gathered though surveys administered to all adult patients shortly after discharge. In addition to working to increase satisfaction of patients, healthcare administrators are constantly monitoring their HCAHPS results due to the financial impact of Medicare reimbursement through the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program. Each hospital’s HCAHPS scores are regularly updated throughout the month, meaning the number of stars a hospital has can change throughout the year.
So, what can you do to improve your HCAHPS scores?
1. Identify Areas of Weakness
The HCAHPS survey captures a wide range of patient experience data across eight areas: doctor communication, nurse communication, staff responsiveness, hospital environment management, medication communication, discharge information, food services, and overall rating of the hospital. It is important to consider each area to raise your HCAHPS scores, with those areas marked as “below the national average” or the “same as the national average” made top priority for improvement.
Once you have identified your area(s) of weakness, you need to set a strategy for how you plan to tackle these areas of concern in order to improve your scores moving forward. Oftentimes, patient dissatisfaction can be narrowed down to lack of consistent or timely communication. Improving communication can be easy, but you must work at it.
2. Improve Communication Between Patients and Providers and Among Providers
As previously mentioned, communication can be one of the biggest areas for improvement in HCAHPS scores. Constant and effective communication is crucial between both patients and providers and also between providers themselves.
Improved communication channels can prevent the disconnect that often leads to lower patient satisfaction rates and HCAHPS scores.
Giving patients and families a way to communicate and receive updates from their providers increases HCAHPS scores. As the modern and innovative way to communicate and truly connect families, physicians, and health care workers, the Vocera Ease app positively contributes to workflow efficiencies, increasing patient and family satisfaction. Ease creates a more efficient workflow among providers and a more satisfactory experience for patients and families, leading to higher HCAHPS scores. It’s truly a win-win for everyone in situations where Ease is in play.
3. Vocera Ease – Proven to Improve HCAHPS and Patient Satisfaction Scores
At multiple hospitals, the Ease solution has repeatedly been shown to improve the patient experience and boost HCAHPS scores. Texas Children’s Hospital Perioperative Services team studied the impact of Ease and concluded that after implementation of the application, the patient satisfaction for ‘information provided the day of surgery’ as reported on the Press Ganey Survey increased from 87.5% to 96.7%. During a six month evaluation using the Ease mobile application at The Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, Press Ganey Patient Experience Scores increased 4.4%. A 6-month HCAHPS Survey Comparison Study at Orlando Health resulted in a 6% average increase in adult patients, a 4% average increase in pediatric patients, and Ease raised the average scores of 9 HCAHPS questions. If you are researching or trying to find a solution to help increase your HCAHPS scores, contact Ease today!