Monday, August 18, 2014

HCAHPS Score -- Focus From Day One


Do you understand what HCAHPS scores are and why they are important to your job? Or do you only know that your supervisor brings the scores to staff meetings and yells at you to improve?! Your HCAHPS Score should be a focus from day one of your employment, but you need to know why.

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The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a sophisticated and nationally standardized patient satisfaction survey which bench marked against hospitals all over the country and is publicly reported . This means a patient who is looking to find the very best option for his or a loved one's care is going to look at these scores and decide the best place to go.

Healthcare is a service industry and nursing is the backbone of that industry. Consumers expect the highest level of customer service from service providers and now they have the power to effect change in the healthcare industry by voicing their opinion about the care they received.Low scores are going to cause a hit to the financial pocket.

To be able to focus on your facilities HCAHPS scores from day one, you need to have training and tools. Your education begins at onboarding and should continue throughout your career there. Nurses need to understand Regulations and requirements such as HCAHPS surveys. Participation is required in order to receive the maximum reimbursement which covers options available in the facility, the type of treatment offered, and trickles down to your salary and staffing.

Having the options to provide education and tools to nurses with the latest evidence based practices and clinical competencies depends on how well your patients and the community value your care and recommend your facility to others. Quality of patient care depends on the tools nurses have. It's a cycle and hospitals need invest in their staff and provide the tools in order for staff to grow professionally and be able to step up the quality of patient care.

The HCAHPS survey utilizes multiple questions to determine covers six important areas of the patient's experience of care. These include:
  • how well the doctors and nurses communicate with the patient and how comfortable he is that he understands what you said
  • how responsive is the staff to his individual needs 
  • how well do the doctors and nurses manage his pain
  • how well do the doctors and nurses communicate key information about his medications, treatments, and discharge information throughout his stay and especially at discharge. 

Other elements in the survey include the patient's comfort levels such as the cleanliness and quietness of the room. And then the overall rating of the hospital and whether or not the patient would recommend the hospital to others.

For staff to understand and buy into the HCAPHS program, the hospital needs to provide ongoing education and information, not just raw scores and condescending remarks that staff needs to improve. Nursing is about combining the art of patient care with the science of medicine and technology to allow patients to assume responsibility for their own health status and outcomes. Information, communication and education are key elements and all of the players needs to know and understand the impact of regs like HCAPHS.

Patient education is one of the major keys to reducing the high cost of medical care and to achieving better outcomes. Patients need to feel confident moving forward with their own health care and to do so they need the best possible evidence based care and instruction. With these tools they can maintain and improve their health status and give the credit to those who helped them get there. HCAHPS score do matter and you need to understand why and how to improve your care. Feedback is essential to improvement. Listen to the information and get involved in the improvement process.

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.

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