Supplementing HCAHPS? Ten Quality Improvement Questions for Everyone in Healthcare

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Some time ago, we suggested that it’s not just patients who should be asked about healthcare mirror reflection clouds service.  Even if the issue is patient satisfaction, everyone involved in healthcare has some standing to assess service quality. Are we missing opportunities to capture insider feedback? Are organizations capable of reflecting on their own performance?

HCACPS, we have also noted, is in many ways limited and subjective in rating hospital care.  That has certainly provided others with the incentive to go beyond it and offer supplementary surveys, addressing, for example, outcomes after one is home or details on specialized procedures.

With that in mind, here are some questions for staff, managers, and leaders that we think should supplement HCAHPS in order to capture  valuable input for improving quality, safety and ultimately patient experience:

1.  Are we providing patients with all and the right kind of healthcare they need?

2.  Are we treating patients with respect and compassion?

3.  Are we giving patients all in the information they need truthfully and effectively?

4.  Are we properly involving patients in choices and outcomes?

5.  Are we all working as a team to meet patient needs?

6.  Are we listening to one another and learning from one another in the interest of promoting health and patient satisfaction?

7.  Is everyone able to say what they think and accept what others think in order to promote the best decisions about patient treatment and outcomes?

8.  Are we all promoting innovation and learning to improve our service delivery to patients?

9.  Are patients, doctors, nurses, other staff, visitors and all others we connect with treated fairly and honestly?

10. Are patients, doctors, nurses and others feeling good about what happens here and how we operate?

Ten is an arbitrary but popular number – enough to memorize, one might say.  Survey Monkey says that their average survey has ten questions (though for healthcare twelve is the norm).

These questions capture just about everything that HCCAPS asks, without going into specifics such as call buttons.   Obviously, if the call buttons were not being answered promptly, these questions would not get high score; just as obviously, even if call buttons are being answered promptly, that does not mean that the best healthcare is being provided.

One could tailor these questions and add others to fit them more specifically to different types of persons who should be surveyed:  patients, doctors, nurses, administrators, visitors, advocates, food service workers, technicians, chaplains, and so on.  Researchers should explore all these options and every segment of the healthcare population has its own needs and outlook, but a “one size fits all” approach also has its benefits.

Note, too, that while one could indeed obtain important information by using these questions as a research tool, they also have value as a tool for learning.  Most of those in healthcare are not in a position to impose a survey, but we can all ask questions and gain information from the answers.  So, also, can those interrogated get profit from being asked good questions.

What do others think? Are there more questions worth asking?  How can we use questions in our work to promote learning and improvement?

Jim murphyJim Murphy has a solo consulting practice called Management 3000, focusing on organizational development and change management. Formerly he led the Massachusetts Bay Organizational Development Learning Group, was Human Resources Director for the City of Boston Assessing Department, and served as a consultant with the Boston Management Consortium.  His consulting practice includes management coaching as well as research and writing on employee relationships, leadership, healthcare and collaborative practices.  Having produced newsletters for several organizations  and being a frequent content writer for the”Confident Voices in Healthcare” blog, he is interested in writing and research opportunities, as we all consulting and coaching.



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