At 10-year-old Oklahoma Heart Hospital, director Cindy Miller says, "the whole architecture is designed so that patients feel they're the only patient in the hospital; it's quiet." But key to their high-end patient experience scores is their low nurse-to-patient ratio, which Miller says "is unmatched. If a patient needs three nurses, that's what the patient gets."
Second on the OHH's list is an aggressive service recovery effort. "We openly admit our boo-boos and try to amend with the patient proactively," Miller says. For example, if there's a scheduling mixup, a patient might receive a free hotel stay, flowers, free meals "whatever we can do."
Now eight years old, Lafayette uses concierges to escort patients where they need to be at all times, and "takes every complaint seriously," says Richard LeBlanc, Heart Hospital of Lafayette's director of performance improvement and risk management. "I don't care if they say they don't like the TV remote, we get them a new one. Or if anything is wrong with the food, the dietician comes to fix it." Family members can stay with their loved ones through their ICU recovery.
Some officials for some hospitals on the lower end of the HCAHPS scorecard blame their poor responses on the fact that they serve a low-income population or are located in a lower socioeconomic region.
Patricia Simon, Jackson Park's vice president for quality and compliance, says that Jackson Park treats a population in a highly underserved area where a lot of patients are funded through public aid programs.
Cathy Kutzler, CEO of St. Joseph's, says her hospital has a disadvantage on the HCAHPS survey because 98% of the patients that come there are brought in by fire and rescue services and don't see St. Joseph's as their hospital. Additionally, she says, while the emergency department was rebuilt in the last three years, the rest of the hospital is old. "We receive a lot of complaints about our rooms. That they're old and they look dirty, no matter what we do."
Kutzler says that St. Joseph's is trying to get a better "face in the community, but I've been here since 1990 and the community has always viewed this hospital as one that just takes care of the poor."