Have you seen what your discharged patients are saying about your hospital?
Now that patient satisfaction data is public, you can rest assured others are looking at how your facility stacks up against neighboring hospitals on doctor communication, pain management, and more.
As of late March, patient satisfaction information is available on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare consumer Web site (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov). This allows for a new level of transparency about the quality of care hospitals provide.
“This is an opportunity,” says Mark V. Williams, MD, director of the hospital medicine program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“Hospitalists ought to look up the information on their hospitals and, if they’re not doing well, go to their administrators and say they want to help bring those standings up.”
What is patient satisfaction? The Hospital Compare site terms this information “Survey of Patients’ Hospital Experiences” and offers a straight percentage of patient satisfaction for 10 areas, including these summary measures:
- How well nurses and doctors in the hospital communicated with the patient;
- How responsive hospital staff were to the patient’s needs;
- How well hospital staff helped the patient manage pain;
- How well the staff communicated with the patient about medicines; and
- Whether pertinent information was provided when the patient was discharged.
Additional items address the cleanliness and quietness of the patient’s room, as well as the patient’s overall rating of the hospital and whether the patient would recommend the hospital to others.
About the Survey
The CMS patient satisfaction percentages are compiled from hospital responses to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). This is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care.
Under CMS’ Reporting Hospital Quality Data Annual Payment Update program, hospitals subject to Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) payment provisions must collect and submit HCAHPS data to receive their full IPPS annual payment update. Other hospitals can voluntarily participate, but there is no incentive payment.
Hospitals administer the survey to a random sample of their adult Medicare patients (across medical conditions) anywhere from 48 hours to six weeks after discharge. They are allowed to conduct the survey by mail, telephone, mail with telephone follow-up, or active interactive voice recognition, and they either can integrate the HCAHPS questions with their own patient satisfaction survey or use HCAHPS by itself. Hospitals must survey patients throughout each month of the year.