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Real Patient Experience Doesn't Show Up in HCAHPS Scores

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, November 14, 2012

Follow-up care
The first thing I saw while waiting for my surgeon at his office for a follow up appointment was the dust in the corners of the room. You'd think a high-ranking hospital would hire a thorough cleaning crew.

Luckily my surgeon and his office staff have great bedside manners that all but make up for the dust bunnies on the floor (which I have since commented on). He answers all my inane questions (which I preface with, "forgive me, I'm a journalist") and even happily fills out my HR forms right then and there. He would rank high on the "My doctor always communicated well" survey question.

Before you write my surgeon off as being born with a patient-friendly personality, bedside manner can and is being taught at organizations around the country. Sometimes providers just need a little coaching about keeping eye contact, truly listening, and then responding without using too much jargon.

The main thing I learned from this relatively minor ordeal is that no matter how long you study survey results, you don't really know what it's like to be a patient in your hospital until you are one.

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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.