“In writing about HCAHPS, we’ve noted that there is a plethora of businesses offering hospitals ways to improve their score and, thus, to get higher federal reimbursements. Some of the means advertised as obtaining higher HCAHPS marks that we mentioned were improved food service and better televisions.
“We Can Raise Your HCAHPS Scores! (Just Buy Our Product!)”
In fact, one can hardly do an Internet search on HCAHPS without finding advertisers offering improved ratings if you buy their product or services. For a hospital administrator, the choices must be bewildering. There is an even an app to monitor your score, but what to do if it isn’t good enough?
Maybe the answer is post-discharge calling? After all, readmissions are bad.
Another possibility: technology “to enable patients to connect with friends and family using the Internet. Such family interaction has been shown to positively impact patient mood and treatment outcome, thus improving patient satisfaction scores”.
Alternatively, you could send more e-mails and text messages, and you can buy software to do that. Everybody likes texting, don’t they?
Interactive patient care technology is another choice. A vendor honestly notes that “the patient’s perception of the hospital care is almost as important as the quality of care itself.”
You could have your staff take a webinar, always a fairly easy and inexpensive thing to do. But how to choose? One vendor says that it “has increased HCAHPS scores in individual units to over 95%” – and their offerings are “low cost,” too. Then again a distinguished nonprofit offers free webinars, including one on “the relationship between cultural competency practices and HCAHPS scores.”
Then again maybe patients should take a webinar. It has been found that if they watch an on-line preview of their hospital stay they give higher marks on HCAHPS.
If your budget permits, attending a conference is a good way to solve any problem. You could even attend a session explicitly on “How to Improve HCAHPS Scores”. Or, if you can afford, even more, a two-day conference.
Dare we mention that you could hire a consultant? That’s always good when you don’t know what to do. One ad from a consulting firm reports of their intervention that “In a very short period, the hospital was successful in raising their HCAHPS scores.”
But perhaps you can’t afford any of those or just can’t make a decision among all these options. There is a way out, and we actually recommend it. Instead of focusing on the numbers or relying on one or more secondary factors, why not involve everyone in the organization in a discussion on how to provide great health care? We’ve already proposed the right questions for that endeavor!
–Jim 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. www.manage2001.com firstname.lastname@example.org