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The Brief – Improving Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Hospitals are required to disseminate patient satisfaction surveys as a part of the Affordable Care Act. According to the program, the higher a hospital’s HCAHPS scores, the higher its reimbursements will be, and vice versa. We have an “all-in approach” to increase your hospital’s HCAPHPS scores and improve your internal quality initiatives. This means going back to the basics. This is not just for the nurse and the provider to solve. This is for everyone that has interactions with the patient and families.

1. There are 3 ways meant for better communication -back to the basics.

a. Listen first- Listening is the key to understanding. Mirror their words and match them to healthcare words. This lets them know you are listening.

b. Communicating realistic wait times, lab wait times, procedures, expectations, discharge instructions, and patient follow-ups. In some hospitals, we have added a poster in the ED room on the importance of filling out a survey and providing the appropriate contact information to increase the Numerator.

c. Scripting- Use words that are in the survey throughout the visit that will clue them in, on why you are doing something. Example: “I am going to close the curtain to give you some privacy.” Or “ I am going to close the door to keep the extra hallway noise out of your room so you can rest.”

2. Treat people like you would be treated- Just be nice! These patients are going through a crisis. We are there to help them go through it without adding additional stress and anxiety.

3. Asking “Is there anything else we can do for you”? This opens the door for any underline issue or concern they want you to resolve but didn’t know how or when to ask.

4. Pre-surveys -before they leave. Gather real-time data. This allows you to be more specific to the nurse, provider, and who was on the shift. Anyone can conduct these at the bedside prior to leaving. In some cases, we have been able to solve a big complaint /concern by having an administrator come in and talk to the patient before leaving. Remember it’s never about the score. The score is an indicator of where you are. Use that number to find gaps in care and in customer service. Low HCAHPS scores impact a hospital’s bottom line in two ways: by hindering their reputation among consumers and limiting the amount of funding they receive from Medicare.

ACUTE CARE, INC. partners with independent physicians and rural health facilities for over 35 years. We help bridge the gap and help facilities manage their providers to their success. If you would like to know more about our Physician Practice Management Solutions and how we help increase patient satisfaction scores.

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Our philosophy: It’s all about you!

Sam Patterson AVP of Business Development