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Hospital Strategies to Improve HCAHPS Scores in 2022

By Team Altus
Published Oct 05, 2020 | Updated Aug 01, 2022 | 5 min read

There has been a big push in the healthcare industry to find new ways to improve the patient experience. From changing the color choices in hospitals to encourage healing, to implementing ergonomic computer workstations, hospitals are implementing it all. One of the ways hospitals are tracking how well their efforts are going is by getting their Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey score. This survey measures the patient’s experience and the level of care received. Having a higher score means the patient had a better experience, but achieving a high HCAHPS score can be a monumental effort.

Altus found the best ways to improve your hospital’s HCAHPS score, and in turn, improve the patient experience.

Better Your HCAHPS Scores

HCAHPS is a 29-question survey focusing on the patient’s experience and level of care received in a hospital. The survey is taken by discharged patients, where their responses go to the United States CMS before becoming available for the hospital to see.

In the years since transparency between hospitals and patients has expanded, having a high score has become crucial. Patients would prefer to go to a healthcare facility that has a higher HCAHPS score since it means their patients have had better experiences. In addition to patient experience, HCAHPS scores are also tied to reimbursement, making it even more crucial.

When it comes time to create a strategy that will lead to an improved patient experience and a higher HCAHPS score, follow the steps below:

  1. Rework your communication strategy

  2. Build a culture of improvement

  3. Privacy and regulatory compliance

  4. Consult with an Altus technology expert

The main component for success in the above action items is that patient satisfaction is attainable for any hospital facility, you just need the right plan to implement.

1. Rework your communication strategy

Communication between the caregiver and patient represents about 25% of the survey. Since so much of a patient’s experience within a hospital revolves around how well the patient received communication about their health, implementing a new communication strategy is at the top of the list.

Having added protocols where clinicians take a few moments to sit with the patient in case they have any questions is one way to improve this score. Hospitals can also use printed materials for information a patient may need to digest and help the process.

The last step in reworking your hospital’s communication strategy is to use all the features on computer workstations. They can streamline communication between the patient and the caregiver in an instant. Using a medical computer stand, clinicians are able to stay in the sight of the patient to explain things as the appointment goes on. They can also swivel the monitor around to show any details or information on their screen. These allow for patients to feel more involved in their care, and they feel more satisfied with the information passed between them.

2. Build a culture of improvement

The next step to earning a better HCAHPS score and increasing patient satisfaction is to work on building a culture of improvement. While seemingly easy, building a culture of improvement can be hard. It has to accept mistakes and put new steps in after meetings to ensure the hospital is always working toward improvement.

One way to strive for improvement that is HCAHPS specific is to periodically go through the survey questions and focus on one or two you’d like to work on. This ensures all clinicians, nurses, and staff are on the same page and know how to conduct their visits for the better.

Another way to create a culture for improvement is by checking how your hospital matches up with other HCAHPS scores. Take notes of those that are doing better than your hospital, and what initiatives they have within their facilities that encourage higher patient satisfaction and experiences.

3. Privacy and regulatory compliance

Patients that are confident in their hospitals will give a higher score on the survey. One of the ways to encourage a higher level of confidence is by ensuring any IT vendors used within the hospital have a good reputation.

IT vendors should keep your hospital HIPPA compliant. Meaning they should be destroying paper patient files and former hardware, checking archives periodically, and monitoring the usage of the technology within the walls.

This step has been made easier in recent years with the use of EMR and computer workstations. For these, make sure your IT teams are checking the files for potential tampering, hacking, or early deletion. IT should also be checking who accesses technology in the event of an error, such as a medication administration mixup. This can help understand what happened and prevent the issue from happening again.

4. Consult with an Altus technology expert

Consider Altus your expert on implementing technology EMR workstations in your healthcare facility. We know how crucial a good HCHAPS score is, and have made sure our computer carts facilitate conversation between patient and provider.

There is no need for the clinician to leave the room to input data into EHRs since it’s right next to them at the point of care. They are also able to easily maneuver it out of their way so there is no computer cart blocking their view of the patient. Altus powered carts also offer enough battery charge to last an entire shift, so nurses are able to place their focus on their patients rather than their technology.

Contact us to learn more about our computer workstations and how they can help improve your hospital’s HCAHPS score.

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