Don't Let Nurses Sink Your Bottom Line

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, May 21, 2013

Because higher patient satisfaction scores translate to higher Medicare reimbursements, how nurses interact and talk with patients has a demonstrable and significant impact on a hospital's bottom line.

When a patient in pain cries for help, it's almost always a nurse who responds. But how swiftly that response comes and how effectively the interaction that follows satisfies the patient's needs has repercussions far beyond the bedside.

The way nurses interact and talk with their patients could have an impact on a hospital's bottom line, concludes a new study. It finds that how hospitals perform on the "communication with nurses" dimension of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey strongly influences several other "Patient Experience of Care" dimensions.

And as we all know, higher patient satisfaction = higher reimbursements.

Here's a refresher about the areas in which patients rate their care within HCAHPS [PDF]:

  • Communication with doctors
  • Communication with nurses
  • Responsiveness of hospital staff
  • Pain management
  • Communication about medication
  • Cleanliness/quietness of hospital environment
  • Discharge information
  • Overall hospital rating

The Press Ganey study aimed to find out which of these measures influenced each other. Researchers used data from a sample of 3,062 acute care hospitals to conduct what's called a "hierarchical variable clustering analysis" on the HCAHPS dimensions. This analysis identifies multiple measures that are consistently grouped together and pinpoints which measures lead the others.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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