Many hospitals are investing in “extras” to make a good first impression with their patients. But these “extras” fail to address core issues that impact the patient experience.
Patient Satisfaction and HCAHPS Scores: Why They Matter
In the health care industry, empowered consumers increasingly rely on publically available data to determine where they go to seek care. From hospital safety ratings to Yelp reviews, hospitals have had to rethink the experience patients receive in their facility from the moment they walk in the door. Why? Because not only is it significantly more cost-effective to retain current patients, but improving HCAHPS Scores provides a tremendous opportunity to maximize compensation in the face of tightening reimbursement. For example, a hospital with $120M in annual revenue could expect between $2.2M and $5.4M in additional revenue each year by improving patient satisfaction. As a result, hospital leaders and staff, from the C-suite to nurse practitioners and everyone in-between, feel the pressure to create new methods for improving the patient experience.
Many hospitals are pouring money into lavish amenities and “extras” as an easy way to provide the perception of high-end concierge care. And while these efforts indeed offer a favorable first impression to new patients, they do not address core internal processes that delay care and leave patients wondering where the nurse or physician could be. At that point, no matter how luxurious those ‘extras’ may be, they ultimately will not provide an overall better care experience, and your hospital can end up paying the price.
The Path to Improved HCAHPS Scores Starts with Better Processes
Seeing the opportunity, health care leaders are taking a new approach to improving HCAHPS scores. Instead of solely focusing on material items to enhance the patient care experience, hospital leaders are looking to remove complexities that impact patient care. Some examples include:
- Searching for ways to simplify clinical workflows
- Eliminating operational bottlenecks
- Delivering a more streamlined (and seamless) patient experience
This focus on the quality of care over quantity of perks is designed to leave patients with a greater sense of satisfaction about their care experience. It provides a renewed confidence that their medical needs were met, that the staff was attentive and helpful and that they can head home on the path to a full recovery.
However, that is often easier said than done. One of the most surprising complexities that can impact the patient experience is how hospitals manage their medical equipment. In fact, some hospitals have started noticing that breakdowns in their equipment management workflows can quickly escalate costs and overburden hospital staff. What’s more, when misalignment exists between nursing, supply chain and clinical engineering team processes, nurses cannot quickly access the necessary tools they need to deliver care. So, instead of spending time at the bedside – focused on providing a high quality of care to the patient – they are forced to deal with non-value added tasks like searching for equipment.
For hospitals to eliminate costly breakdowns, they need to patch the holes in their equipment management processes by bridging gaps between clinical, supply chain and biomed teams. These efficiencies then allow hospital department staff members to focus on more value-added initiatives that are critical to a positive patient care experience, such as aligning departments throughout the hospital and allowing nurses to spend more time at the bedside. By freeing nurses to do the job they signed up for — the job they love — hospitals can improve nurse job satisfaction and enhance their ability to attract and retain excellent nurses. Happier nurses, in turn, have a direct correlation with improved HCAHPS scores.