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Real Patient Experience Doesn't Show Up in HCAHPS Scores

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, November 14, 2012

The ER
What shocked me most about my ER visit is that I was seen immediately. After years of writing about ER wait time apps I'd assumed I would have at least 30 minutes of anxious downtime before seeing a doctor, but I was in a room and being examined within 10 minutes. Huge points there.

Unfortunately, the wait time began accumulating as I was bounced among residents, attendings, med students, X-ray techs, consulting surgeons, and nurses. I didn't feel there was one person at the helm of my care. The one redeeming factor was the nurse who stopped in after a particularly long wait period and asked if she could get me a glass of water and some magazines. It's little touches like this that can make a big difference.

Obviously there were many more emergent cases than mine that night, but I learned that the patient—especially in the emergency room—can feel as though they have little control over their care. Having one consistent caregiver, whether it be a doctor or medical assistant, would have put me more at ease.

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1 comments on "Real Patient Experience Doesn't Show Up in HCAHPS Scores"


Mark Rudolph (11/25/2012 at 12:35 PM)
Thanks for this great piece, Marianne. I hope you and your hand are recovering well! Your point about providers needing a little coaching about keeping eye contact, truly listening, and then responding without using too much jargon is an excellent one. Our hospitalist group, Sound Physicians, a national practice with 500+ physicians is pursuing just that kind of training. We are observing our physicians during patient encounters to offer them the training and feedback that just can't be gleaned from the HCAHPS results. Any chance you'd be interested in doing a piece about our efforts in this regard? I serve as Vice President of Patient Experience for our practice and am really jazzed about these topics.