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5 Ways to Raise HCAHPS Scores via Staff Engagement

 |  By Chelsea Rice  
   January 28, 2013

Value-based purchasing and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey scores have transformed patient satisfaction from a branding tag line to a financial incentive.

More than half (54%) of healthcare executives say patient experience and satisfaction is one of their top three priorities, according to HealthLeaders Media's 2013 Industry Survey data.

With patient volumes up as a result of healthcare reform, providers have less time to make positive impressions during their interactions with patients. That's why it's important to engage staff around delivering patient-centered care.  After all, those scores are largely based on the quality of the interactions—large and small—between patients and hospital employees.

But it may be tough to rally staff members who may be struggling with managing their own health and fatigue.

The key is for human resources leaders to translate patient-centered care from a strategic  executive-level priority into a cultural foundation of their organization.

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1. Establish early expectations
A strong value-based culture at any organization depends on expectations being set from the very start. Although cultures can be built, starting with an employee population that doesn't share the values or priorities of the organization creates an uphill battle. Human resource leaders and hiring managers should establish patient-centered care as a priority in the job description, as with all of the organization's cultural values.

Mary Ellen McCartney, chief learning officer at Gundersen Lutheran Health System, in La Crosse, WI, explains human resources' role in improving patient satisfaction scores at their organization this way: "What's important here is that we're hard wired all around for patient experience, so just because you change a patient satisfaction survey it doesn't mean we necessarily need a whole new communication approach."

"Through our human resource practices, we are hiring people that want to meet the patient needs. When you do that on the front end, and you set expectations and evaluate them based on those expectations, you basically embed any changes in the delivery model through that work."



Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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