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Why Hospitals Can't Rely on HCAHPS Alone

By Tinker Ready  
   December 22, 2016

As patient satisfaction becomes increasingly important to the bottom line, more systems are dedicating staff, money, and programs to raising their scores.

More health systems are going beyond HCAHPS to improve patient experience. They're dedicating staff, using employee incentives, and conducting multiple surveys to improve patient experience scores.

In a survey and follow-up interviews with leaders from more than 100 hospitals, more than 50% said they didn't rely on HCAHPS alone to measure patient experience, according to the report, Patient Experience 2.0: Expanding Your Horizons.

Sixty-two percent of hospitals reported conducting between one and nine surveys, and 20% reported doing more than 50, according to the survey, which was produced by Jarrard, Phillips, Cate and Hancock, a Nashville, TN consulting group focused on patient experience.

The survey also found:

  • 85% of respondents said patient experience is a top three priority for their health system
  • 70% of health systems reported offering leadership incentives tied to patient experience.
  • 64% of health systems reported seeing an increase in volumes since starting patient experience initiatives.
  • Only 35% of health systems publish patient reviews on their websites.

Responsibility for promoting positive patient experiences is assigned to a variety of departments, including nursing, quality and operations, with 36 hospitals reporting that they have established patient experience offices.

Most patient experience offices report to the chief operating officer, the chief executive office, and the chief nursing officer.

Patient Experience: Transforming Culture Across the Continuum

Roughly 47% of respondents reported their hospital's annual budget for patient experience programs was $150,000, but 5% reported patient experience budgets of more than $3 million. Salaries for patient experience leadership ranged from $50,00 to $250,000, according to the survey.

Seventy percent of respondents use incentives like annual raises to reward employees for high patient experience ratings. Most of those programs—83%—are tied to HCAHPS results.

Tinker Ready is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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