The Emotional Side of HCAHPS Problems


A new article from the Gallup Business Journal this month took a fresh view of the HCAHPS measures. They found a correlation between how patients view their own health and the satisfaction with their hospital stay.

“Eight in 10 patients who considered their health to be excellent rated their hospital a 9 or 10 on the item assessing the overall quality of the hospital. In contrast, 6 in 10 patients who rated their health as fair or poor rated the hospital a 9 or 10 on this item.”

patient in wheelchair

This is a new way to look at what has fast become a standard survey in healthcare, and shows how quality of care and the patient’s emotional experience can be related. Optimistic and hopeful patients on the mend appear to define their satisfaction with care differently than patients in despair or having difficulty seeing improvements.

Some hospitals are trying different amenities to resolve the emotional side their satisfaction problems. Two examples from recent news:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Northeast Philadelphia get chauffeured trips to the hospital, often in a limousine. They were recently treated to a performance by a vintage soul group, the Pointer Sisters, and are regularly welcomed with live piano music, fresh organic fare in the cafeteria, and receptionists befitting a classy hotel.”
  • Hospital chefs step up dining options to boost patient satisfaction from the Denver Post.

But an article in the most recent HealthLeaders shows that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make those HCAHPS scores rise. Safety-net hospitals are finding that simple solutions like focusing on compassionate care and quality outcomes is making a big difference.

We’re hosting a free webinar this week with Anthony Cirillo on “The Patient Experience Trifecta: Ignite the Passion, Change the Experience, Tell Your Story.” His article, “The New CEO–Chief Experience Officer” was one impetus behind the Cleveland Clinic’s initiative to start an office of patient experience.

In this session, Cirillo will first make the association between word of mouth and patient experiences. Research showing the tie between top-performing hospitals and employees who are engaged in the mission will be shared along with a systemic approach to patient experience management. Once you start to change experiences, you will want to tell your story. How to tell your story and then spread it through five strategies that mainstream companies like Starbucks use to identify and deploy customer ambassadors/crusaders will be shared with both offline and online strategies. Register today!


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