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Patient Experience: Hospitals' Holy Grail?

Steve Whitehurst, for HealthLeaders Media, September 30, 2011

So while hospitals will need to tighten their belts with regard to expenses, they also need to prioritize their capital investments in resources that improve care delivery and the patient experience. According to the HealthCare.gov website, the Patient Experience of Care Measure will use HCAHPS scores to calculate the following:

  • How well nurses communicated with patients
  • How well doctors communicated with patients
  • How responsive was the hospital to patients' needs
  • How well caregivers managed patients' pain
  • How well caregivers explained patients' medications to them
  • How clean and quiet the hospital was
  • How well caregivers explained the steps patients and families need to take to care for themselves outside of the hospital (i.e., discharge instructions)

The patient experience score represents one-third of the final grade, and many hospitals and associations are sounding the alarm and asking whether they can be graded on a curve.

But grading on a curve isn't in the best interest of patients. We must stop putting silos around the various facets of healthcare. If hospitals are graded on a curve, then they may focus on safety and the bottom line, while ignoring the patient experience. The truth is, the patient experience impacts both.

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30 comments on "Patient Experience: Hospitals' Holy Grail?"


William (10/28/2011 at 11:38 PM)
Nina, great points! People will never remember what you did or how you did it, but will always remember how you made them feel. And if you love your job, and are in medicine for the right reason, to help people, it will show in your work and your contribution to the scores. God bless.

mHealth Innovations (10/26/2011 at 11:44 AM)
Relationship with patients determinate the satisfaction's level of the client, totally agree with that. But I believe that as well is the sum of some other factors that make the experience to be good or bad. Those factors goes from hospital or health centre installations, time of waiting to be seen, the possibilities of getting an appointment when the patient can make it... in my opinion factors that can be improved by using mobile applications

Nina (10/19/2011 at 9:30 AM)
Relationships are tough to build in today's society, whether due to time factors or communication systems. I know as an RN, I have to force myself as I walk into the room to slow down, connect with the patient, and have a presence. When I reflect on my day, if some of those components do no occur, the day does not give me pride in my job for that day. I love being a Nurse and I want my patient's to remember the care I gave them.