Improving scores on a single domain of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, much less your facility’s overall rating, is a monumental task. With the top 25 hospitals in any given community separated by slim margins, having specific goals can help you maintain favorable ranking and avoid losing Medicare reimbursement.

5 Tips for Improving Your Facility’s Patient Experience Scores

Having a friendly staff and patient-centered culture only go so far. Here are five tips for achieving patient experience awesomeness:

  1. Treat each encounter as an opportunity to help patients learn: Patient education shouldn’t be relegated to a discharge day cram session. Educate patients and their families throughout the hospital stay. Remember, people who are stressed, uncomfortable or on pain medications are going to need to hear important care instructions more than once. Use whiteboards, video demonstrations and mobile device apps to augment verbal communication.
  2. Make every hour a quiet hour: It takes more than soft voices to lower noise levels in busy patient areas. Take steps to address noise that may be coming from equipment carts, door latches, alarms and phones. Ditto for other departments, such as housekeeping or physical therapy, and vendors who regularly visit patient floors.
  3. Infuse a dose of kindness in everything you do: Research shows an important link between kindness (not just smiling but showing a genuine and unwavering concern for the patient’s well-being) and positive clinical outcomes. In fact, patients who experience kindness report having less pain, are less anxious and tend to recover faster. On the flip side, patients who don’t experience kindness are more likely to withhold clinical information, which can adversely impact their care.
  4. Tailor care experiences: Being attentive to the needs of different populations ensures that everyone has a good experience. Patients with chronic conditions who have been to your facility before are likely to notice changes in cleanliness and quietness. Labor and delivery patients will likely expect to get help quickly after pressing the call button. Mine your facility’s census data to identify patient segments, and consider their unique needs.
  5. Don’t wait for the next survey to find out what patients are thinking: Social media is a great source of real time patient experience information. Patient advisory councils and focus groups can also give you helpful insights. Using this information to identify and act upon improvement opportunities can help your facility shine come survey time.

Is your facility poised for patient experience awesomeness? Let us know your tips in the Comments section below.

Learn more:
• What’s Really Driving Patients to Choose Your Hospital?
• Now and Later: How the New Common Care Ratings Will Affect Your Hospital

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