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5 Ways to Raise HCAHPS Scores via Staff Engagement

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, January 28, 2013

5. Build employee stamina
When a stressed nurse enters a patient's room, that stress enters the patient's environment as well. A study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that increasing nurse-patient staff ratios and improving work environments reduced 30-day readmission rates for Medicare patients with heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and pneumonia, so it pays on the reimbursement end to build a healthy work environment.

Gundersen Lutheran recently researched a stress management initiative called the Heart Map, an online platform it developed.  Employees, after eight hours of training, learn to take pauses in their work days to lower their heart rates and experience moments of quiet.

After three to six months 70% felt more calm, 22% reported better sleep, 47% reported less anxiety, 37% had improved their mental attitude, and 94% strongly agreed or agreed that they felt better able to handle emotional stress than they did before.

"The primary lever for improving patient experience is creating a healing environment where employees can put the patient first and at the center," says McCartney.

"Employees have to understand that they carry that ability to really transform their own environment, and the patient's level of stress, but as the organization we should provide those tools and the opportunity for that transformation."


Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "5 Ways to Raise HCAHPS Scores via Staff Engagement"


Molly Neider (1/28/2013 at 4:16 PM)
Our College Department developed a life skills/soft skills program with Cleveland Clinic several years ago and the program is taught at the City of Cleveland's One Stop to prepare potential employees for the culture of healthcare and the expectations of the Clinic. Anyone can learn tasks - the ideal is that everyone is on the same page with customer service. Your staff can make or break you - you must invest in them and reward those who follow through on the facility's expectations.